INDIANAPOLIS -- The first-ever central Indiana Safe Haven Baby Box will be installed this month in Indianapolis.
Baby boxes are safe incubators where parents can anonymously surrender their newborn babies. They have alarm systems, so 911 is notified as soon as a baby is placed inside. The baby boxes also have heating and cooling features and lock when the baby is placed inside.
The baby box will be installed at Decatur Township Fire Station #74, located at 3750 S. Foltz St., before July 1.
"We don't want to be just a fire department that puts out fires. We would like to stop fires, we would like to stop child abandonment and this is one way we might be able to help do that," Steven Rink, Decatur Township Fire Department, said.
This @SafeHavenBox1 is going to be installed here at Station #74, it’s the first ever baby box in central Indiana. It’s a place where women can surrender their babies safely & anonymously. @rtv6 pic.twitter.com/djpdfuVMtO
— Erin Lisch (@ErinLischNews) June 21, 2018
Although this will be the first central Indiana baby box, it will be the third in the state. The others are in La Porte and Allen counties. Two babies were surrendered in the last seven months in Indiana.
Baby boxes cost about $10,000. The Decatur Township one will be funded through private donations, mostly by the "He Knows Your Name" ministry.
The Safe Haven Baby Box organization also staffs a 24-hour hotline (1-866-992-2291) to give
women the opportunity to talk to a trained professional as they consider surrendering
"This is a good option if it's the only option she has left. That's what our organization makes sure of that she is out of options before we send her to this fire station, but we're thankful it's going to be here," Monica Kelsey, Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder, said.
Baby boxes have faced some pushback from state officials. In 2016, the now-former director of the Indiana Department of Children Services warned against the use of the boxes, questioning their safety. A new Indiana law that goes into effect July 1 (the same day the central Indiana box is to be installed) expands Indiana's Safe Haven Law, which allows people to surrender their newborn without fear of criminal prosecution.
The expansion of the law makes an emergency provider take custody and eliminates some potential questions that could come up from the baby boxes. The law also requires fire departments to test the alarm system at least once per month.
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