Safe Haven Baby Box opens in Tippecanoe County

Located at Franciscan Health Lafayette East, the Safe Haven Baby Box provides mothers a safe and anonymous way to surrender a newborn.

Posted: Jul 8, 2020 6:17 PM
Updated: Jul 8, 2020 6:24 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Franciscan Health Lafayette East is home to Tippecanoe County's first Safe Haven Baby Box.

It provides mothers a safe and anonymous way to surrender a newborn.

"A baby has a forever home on the other side of this box," said Safe Haven Baby Box founder Monica Kelsey.

Under Indiana's Safe Haven Law, a mother is able to use the box without the fear of arrest or prosecution.

"There's no cameras so moms can be assured that no one will know that they dropped their baby off," said Franciscan Health Lafayette East Women's Center Director Marcia Cherry.

According to Cherry, a silent alarm will go off shortly after an infant is surrendered.

Staff will be able to respond in under two minutes when an alarm sounds.

"We can care for that infant safely and then hand off the infant and ensure that they will have a good, heathy lifestyle and that they will be with someone that loves them," said Cherry.

Kelsey created the Safe Haven Baby Box six years ago after seeing a similar baby box in South Africa.

She wanted to bring the concept back to the states.

"I don't want any mother in America to feel that she doesn't have the option to remain anonymous and to save the life of her child. Because those two things, she can do at any baby box," said Kelsey.

Each box is built within a heated and air-conditioned room with it's own ventilation, providing a safe environment for an infant.

"Life's a gift from God and so we want to do everything we can to make sure that a mother that maybe has a desperate situation knows that there are options available to her where she can give that child a different and perhaps better life," said Nate Barrett, a donor who helped make the baby box a possibility.

The Safe Haven Baby Box is located at the Center for Women and Children on Franciscan Health Lafayette East's campus. It is accessible at all times.

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