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First Baby Surrendered Using Baby Box In Indiana

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.

Firefighters handed a baby girl over to Indiana’s Department of Child Services after someone left her in a Safe Haven Baby Box at a Michigan City fire station last night. It’s the first time one of the boxes has been used in the state.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes allow parents to surrender infants to the state without having to make face-to-face contact with someone.

They trigger a 911 call both when opened and closed and keep babies warm until help arrives.

But the devices have repeatedly come under fire from the Department of Child Services, which questioned the safety and legality of the boxes.

Safe Haven Baby Box Founder Monica Kelsey says this week’s safe surrender of a child highlights the need for more boxes throughout the state.

“Because we didn’t back down and because we continued to fight a little girl’s life was saved last night,” she says.

Kelsey says there have been five other safe surrenders of infants in Indiana this year, but they’ve all involved people physically handing the children over to staff at a fire station or hospital. She says baby boxes allow parents an extra layer of anonymity.

Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill earlier this year sanctioning two existing baby boxes at firehouses and allowing for more to be installed in hospitals.

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