SCCF Supports Angola Safe Haven Baby Box
By JoAnna Ness, Nov 18 2019 04:00PM
On November 18, 2019, The Angola Fire Department installed the 20th Safe Haven Baby Box located on the northwest corner of the station. The fire station was chosen due to its accessibility and proximity to the Michigan state line. 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 firefighter/medic Monica Kelsey. Kelsey was abandoned as an infant and is committed to installing more Safe Haven Baby Boxes and raising awareness in communities across America. 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, 7 babies have been surrendered in Indiana safely as a result of calling the Safe Haven Baby Box hotline or using a Safe Haven Baby Box. We know that education and awareness around the Safe Haven Laws and Safe Haven Baby Boxes sav e lives. Women in crisis need more options, in more locations throughout the state of Indiana,” says Monica Kelsey.
The Safe Haven Baby Box in Angola is a true collaborative effort. Funding for the purchase and installation was provided by the Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF). Wagler Construction and Mike Rathburn Masonry donated services and materials for the installation. Ongoing maintenance and support for the Safe Haven Baby Box will be provided by the Angola Fire Department and the City of Angola.
Randy White, chair of the SCCF board of directors, shared, “Steuben County Community Foundation is proud to support this vital community project that will provide safety and a future for infants surrendered in our county.”
Jennifer Danic, Executive Director of SCCF, shared, “The Foundation was happy to see the fire department and city come together to make this resource available. It’s not every day the board can make a grant that has such broad community impact!”
Nationwide, 60 women and children have come through the Safe Haven Baby Boxes program. Safe Haven Baby Boxes cost roughly $15,000 with installation and are equipped with alarm systems to notify 9-1-1 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.