Syracuse to get state’s latest ‘Safe Haven Baby Box’

Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder Monica Kelsey is a firefighter in Woodburn, where the first box in Indiana was installed in 2016. A box is now available in New Haven. (AP photo)

Indiana’s latest Safe Haven Baby Box has been installed at the Turkey Creek Fire Territory Station No. 2 at 8138 E. McClintic Road in Syracuse). The box is positioned on the east side of the fire station and will be available to the public starting Friday, Aug. 9.

The station was chosen due to the level of anonymity it provides. This is Indiana’s 11th Safe Haven Baby Box. The Safe Haven Law allows people to anonymously surrender their healthy newborn without fear of criminal prosecution.

Safe Haven Baby Box Inc. is a non-profit founded by Monica Kelsey. Kelsey, a Woodburn firefighter, was abandoned as an infant and is committed to installing more Safe Haven Baby Boxes in communities across Indiana. The Safe Haven Baby Box organization also staffs a 24-hour hotline (1-866-99BABY1) to give women the opportunity to talk to a trained professional as they consider safely surrendering their baby.

“So far in 2019, six babies have been surrendered in Indiana safely as a result of calling the Safe Haven Baby Box hotline. We know that education and awareness around the Safe Haven Laws and Safe Haven Baby Boxes save lives. Women in crisis need more options, in more locations throughout the state of Indiana,” Kelsey said in a statement.

Right to Life of North Central Indiana raised funds with the help of local community members and organizations to install a Safe Haven Baby Box at Turkey Creek Fire Territory fire station.

Two babies have been surrendered inside Safe Haven Baby Boxes since the first was installed in 2016. Nationwide, 55 women and children have come through the Safe Haven Baby Boxes program with two of those surrenders in North Central Indiana in 2019. Safe Haven Baby Boxes cost roughly $10,000 to install and are equipped with alarm systems to notify 911 immediately. Safe Haven Baby Boxes also have heating and cooling features and lock as soon as the baby is placed inside. Indiana is one of five states with updated Safe Haven Laws to include additional surrender options, such as the Safe Haven Baby Box.