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Martinsville Debuts Baby Box

Baby Box

Baby boxes are padded, climate-controlled boxes where people can leave newborns safely and anonymously at hospitals or firehouse. (WFIU/WTIU News)

Martinsville will debut its first baby box Wednesday, May 19th,  at the local fire station.

Baby boxes are climate-controlled and padded, with an outward facing door.  They’re found at hospitals or fire stations and are electronically monitored – a silent alarm alerts authorities when a baby is placed inside. 

Under Indiana’s Safe Haven law, mothers can anonymously place healthy infants 30 days old or younger in one of the boxes.

Monica Kelsey is the CEO and founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, the organization providing Martinsville’s box. 

“Women want anonymity. They don't want to face someone, they don't want to talk to someone, but they do want to keep their child safe.”

Kelsey, who was abandoned as an infant, says even with Safe Haven laws, infants are still  left in unsafe ways.

“We're still finding on average 150 to 200 babies dumped in our country every year, Indiana was no exception to that  -- we were finding two dead babies in Indiana per year.”

Motivated by her personal history, Kelsey has placed baby boxes in five states and will add Kentucky and Oklahoma this year. She says, in Indiana, the boxes help safely transfer about two infants a year.

We just last Sunday had a baby in one of our boxes down in Clarksville, Indiana… a little girl healthy, full term, and beautiful. And they're already looking for a set of adoptive parents for her.”

Under Indiana's Safe Haven Laws, mothers can surrender a healthy infant 30 days old or younger “without fear of arrest or prosecution, ” according to the Indiana Department of Child Services website. The website also asks mothers to include the baby’s date of birth, race, and the parent’s medical history.

The Martinsville Baby Box unveiling and community blessing will be Wednesday, May 19th at 2p.m. at the  West Morgan Street fire station.  Another baby box will be unveiled at the fire station in Franklin, Indiana on  May 19th at 5 p.m.

 

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