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Baby Box To Be Installed In South Bend Despite DCS Warning

A prototype of the baby box sits on a counter in the Woodburn Fire Station just outside of Fort Wayne. The boxes would be built into the walls of fire stations, police stations, hospitals or other qualified nonprofits such as domestic violence shelters.

The founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes plans to install at least one baby box in St. Joseph County, despite warnings from the state that the boxes should be removed.

A baby box will be installed at the Life Center in South Bend once the unit is complete.

The boxes act as incubators to protect babies who are abandoned under the state’s Safe Haven lawIndiana law allows parents of unwanted newborns to give up their babies at fire stations, police departments and hospitals. The baby boxes aim to keep those parents anonymous and their babies safe.

In June, Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura wrote a letter to the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes questioning the safety of the device. She also said the agency would have to investigate the use of such a box as a case of child abandonment.

Safe Haven Baby Box Founder Monica Kelsey responded by establishing a fund to defend parents who surrender their children using the devices. She says she plans to keep installing the boxes throughout the state.

“We don’t have time to pontificate any longer with regulators,” Kelsey said in a statement. “We are hopeful, however, that the legislature will clear the path of any encumbering regulators so that baby boxes can expand throughout Indiana and beyond.”

Kelsey already installed two baby boxes in northern Indiana in April.

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