CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – Hamilton County has its first Safe Haven baby box.
The box was unveiled Friday morning at a Carmel Fire Department’s Station 45 on College Avenue near 106th Street.
The boxes allow people to anonymously surrender their healthy newborns without fear of criminal prosecution under Indiana’s Safe Haven Law. The original law went into effect in 2000 and was amended in July of this year, to allow anonymity. It should be thought of as a last resort next to adoption or surrendering a baby in person.
The addition in Carmel makes the sixth baby box installed in the state so far. It appears to be saving lives.
An alarm goes off inside Station 45 when the Safe Haven baby box is locked from the outside.
The box is temperature controlled providing a warm and safe place until help arrives.
“The first baby that was placed in our box was pulled from the box in four minutes, 20 seconds. The second baby, 90 seconds,” said Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
The box was unveiled in honor of baby Amelia who was found dead after being abandoned at Eagle Creek Park four years ago.
“Baby Amelia’s footprint is on the logo, and there has not been an abandonment since her finding in 2014,” said Linda Znachko, founder of He Knows Your Name Ministries.
Znachko claimed Amelia, known at the time as Doe, from the Marion County Coroner’s Office. Znachko not only named the baby, but also, through her ministry, gave the baby a proper burial.
Since Baby Amelia was abandoned, six boxes have been installed throughout the state. Two babies have been surrendered using the boxes. In July, a third baby was safely surrendered at the Decatur Township Fire Department after it announced plans to install a baby box.
The goal is to eliminate announcements, but as long as their is need, Safe Haven Baby Boxes will continue to grow. “If I have to be in every county, if have to be in every fire station to achieve that, I’ll do that,” Kelsey said.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes has plans to install 14 more boxes between Indiana and Ohio.