Human Interest

First baby saved with newly-installed Safe Haven Baby Box in Kentucky

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A baby was anonymously surrendered at a Safe Haven Baby Box in Kentucky last week, less than two months after the box’s installation.

The Safe Haven Baby Box organization installs monitored, temperature-controlled, alarmed boxes where parents can safely and anonymously surrender a child, per each state’s safe haven law. The boxes are installed in places like fire stations, police stations, or hospitals so that emergency responders can tend to the infant immediately.

Monica Kelsey, founder of the Safe Haven Baby Box organization, held a press conference to discuss the surrender, which happened at the baby box in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She noted that first responders tended to the child within 90 seconds of the baby’s surrender.

“This child was left safely and legally in this baby box so that the baby could be pulled from the other side by the firefighter,” Kelsey said. “The fire department did exactly what they were trained to do, and it worked flawlessly.”

Kelsey also spoke out with a message for the mother and/or father who surrendered the child.

“Thank you for doing what you felt you could for the life of this child,” said Kelsey. “This baby is healthy. This baby is beautiful. This baby is perfect. And the Department of Child Services is now looking for a forever home for this family… If this parent is out there and they want the resources of counseling or medical care, it is available for you at no cost.”

Though each state has a safe haven law allowing parents to surrender an infant in an attempt to curtail infant abandonment, the Safe Haven Baby Box organization aims to make it easier for parents who wish to remain anonymous. Started by Kelsey, who herself was abandoned as an infant, the organization has successfully implemented boxes throughout the country. This surrender marks the 24th since 2016.

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In 2021, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed the “Safe Haven Baby Box Law,” allowing the installation of these baby boxes, which parents can legally utilize up to 30 days after birth. The state now has 16 baby box locations and the surrender last week marks the first time that one of the state’s boxes was used.

State Rep. Nancy Tate, who spearheaded the baby box bill, praised the latest surrender. “It makes my heart full to know how supportive this project is,” she said. Tate said her end goal is to have at least one box in every Kentucky county.

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