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Baby Box Founder Hopes To Install More Devices In 2017

The founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes says she hopes to install the devices in at least six more Indiana communities next year.

Indiana law allows parents of unwanted newborns to give their babies up at fire stations, police departments and hospitals. Safe Haven Baby Boxes can be built into the walls of those places, adding a layer of anonymity to the process while keeping babies safe. They act as incubators and protect babies from the elements.

There are two active baby boxes in Indiana – one in Michigan City and one in Woodburn. Founder Monica Kelsey says six newborns were safely surrendered using the baby boxes this year.

"We believe that a lot of these women have made a better choice since we’ve been out there," Kelsey says.

The boxes are controversial. The Department of Child Services wrote a letter to the non-profit over the summer questioning the safety of baby boxes and saying it would investigate their use as cases of child abandonment.

Kelsey says the boxes are being retested to ensure their safety. She plans to push for legislation in 2017 that would specify use of the boxes is legal.

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