Giving up a child is a heartbreaking decision. If parents do have to make that choice, a resource in Indiana is helping these children find safe homes without punishing the parents.
The newest Safe Haven Baby Box is opening at the Seymour Fire Department on Friday. The box was funded by Indiana high school student Hunter Wart, who raised $10,000 by mowing laws and scrapping metal, according to The Tribune.
Indiana’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Act has been in place for 18 years. Under the law, a parent can surrender an unwanted infant safely – and legally – as long as it is given to a hospital emergency room, fire station, or police station in the state. Once a child is surrendered, the Department of Child Services takes custody and will find a foster or pre-adoptive home for the child.
Giving up a child in person can be overwhelmingly intimidating, so the Baby Box provides a way for these parents to do so anonymously. You open the box, place your baby inside and, the moment it closes, it locks, and an alarm goes off alerting firefighters inside as well as 911 dispatchers.
These baby boxes are found across the country, but the one at the Seymour Fire Department is the closest to Louisville they have come so far. There are several other boxes in Indiana.
Safe Haven also provides a 24-hour hotline for mothers to speak to trained professionals before making the decision to give up their child. In 2019 alone, four babies have been surrendered in Indiana through the hotline.
A total of 51 babies have come through the system since 2016.