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New Mexico city to get safe haven baby box days after child abandoned in dumpster

baby boxes, Safe Haven Baby Boxes, New Mexico

Just days after a baby was found in a dumpster in Hobbs, New Mexico, a city in another part of the state is set to get its first safe haven baby box.

According to KRQE, the city of Española worked for two years to secure the funding and work through the legal red tape that comes with installing one of the boxes. “We are finally at the point where we’re going to install our first baby box in the Española Fire Station and we are thrilled about that,” said Javier Sanchez, the city’s mayor. “We’re getting more awareness about what the reality is out there in the world.”

Safe Haven Baby Box is a national organization that works to install safe, climate-controlled boxes where a parent can legally surrender a newborn child according to the state’s safe haven laws. Founder Monica Kelsey was herself abandoned as an infant. Each box is triggered with an alarm so that once an infant is placed inside, help will arrive within moments. In New Mexico, a person can surrender an infant to a hospital, health care clinic licensed by the state, or the safe haven baby box within 90 days after birth.

“Our attorneys have finalized the last ticking points that we were concerned with,” said Sanchez. “I think that we are now really on solid ground to have our city managers sign that in to get it going and we can start going from here.”

READ: Heroic teens in Russia save newborn abandoned in below zero temperatures

While the case of a young woman tossing her child in a dumpster in Hobbs has shocked the nation recently, it was another heartbreaking case that spurred members of the Española community to advocate for a box in their area. Three years ago, a father called police to report that he was concerned that his preborn child’s mother was no longer pregnant, but she wouldn’t tell him what happened to the infant. Police later found the baby dead in the trash. “It happened here, we found a baby in the trash, and to hear it happened again is devastating,” said John Wickersham, assistant fire chief of the Española Fire Department. “It broke our hearts.”

Sanchez also said he’s already spoken with the mayor of Hobbs about the need for these boxes throughout the entire state of New Mexico. “As we got to talking, we said, we need to put one of these in all of our cities. We decided we’ll bring this up at our next mayor’s conference so we can talk to all of the mayors who are interested and we can roll this out in more than just one location,” he said.

According to Fox News, the Española baby box could be in operation as early as March.

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