Indiana legislation permits mother and father to show the newborn over to 911 providers throughout a disaster
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana leads the way in the number of Safe Haven baby boxes.
These locations legally enable parents in times of crisis to hand over their child safely without any consequences.
Legislators legalized this service years ago and at this meeting approved a measure that would allow parents to call 911 in these situations.
“I don’t want a child ever to be left in a dumpster or trash can, especially in my yard,” said Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
Unfortunately, this is the path that parents took here and across the country during the crisis. That’s why Kelsey spent her life stopping it.
“I was actually in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013, and I had seen a baby in a wall for sure. I was so intrigued, why doesn’t America have something like that?” said Kelsey. “So I drew a baby box on a napkin that came back to the States across the ocean. I took it to a contractor in Fort Wayne, Indiana and said, “I want you to build me a box.” He looked at me like I was crazy and he said, “What are you doing with this box?” ‘And I said,’ I’m going to put it in fire stations and save babies, you know? Isn’t that logical? ‘He’s still my builder today. “
Kelsey’s mother was a teenager when she abandoned Kelsey in childbirth.
“Now I believe that I was created for this day to save children’s lives because my life was saved,” Kelsey said. “I’m a firefighter and paramedic by profession. I loved being in an ambulance and working in a fire station, but when God calls you have to answer. When I met my birth mother when I was 37 years old, it became pretty clear to me that my life was meant for something to do with abandoned babies. “
During that meeting, Kelsey’s mother stated that she had been raped by her father. She took him to court and later found out she was pregnant with Kelsey.
“So, my birth father is a rapist and I don’t even know my ethnicity, but I’m still human and I still have value,” Kelsey said. “My life is worth no less because of my beginnings.”
Your efforts have placed Safe Haven Boxes across the country, like the most recent one that was blessed on April 30th in Brownsburg, Indiana.
“While I hope this is something we will never see used, if it is used only once and will only save a baby, it is well worth the time, effort and money we put into it,” said Zach Bowers, EMS department manager for the Brownsburg Fire Territory.
As soon as a child is placed in the box, there are several alarms that alert the dispatch immediately. Rescue workers are sent to the pits, even if nobody is in the fire station. There is also a backup generator in case the power goes out.
“This box offers no shame, no guilt, and no names,” Kelsey said. “The very first baby box bill in 2015 didn’t look like it does today.”
And with a new measure just passed by the Indiana Statehouse, people in crisis can remain anonymous while they call 911 to give up custody of the baby. You just have to safely wait for help.
“We’re just saying that this is a problem. Can you fix it? And lawmakers have been so supportive of us over the past few years, ”Kelsey said. “They make it easy for women to keep their child safe.”
The Safe Haven 911 Act comes into force on July 1, 2021.
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