Baby boxes in Indiana continue to increase

The baby box in Elwood is blessed. It is the 86th Safe Haven Baby Box installed in Indiana. (Jill Sheridan / WFYI)

Indiana’s 86th baby box, where newborns can be anonymously surrendered, is open. 

The Safe Haven Baby Box organization was founded by Monica Kelsey in 2016.  The newest baby box opened in Elwood this week marks another milestone for Kelsey.

“I’ll tell you I stand on the frontlines of this movement ensuring that every mother has a safe option to place her newborn in the arms of a firefighter with just a bassinet in between,” Kelsey said.

The first baby box was installed in 2016 in Woodburn Indiana.  Most of the electronically monitored, temperature-controlled boxes are installed on the sides of fire stations.  Most are also funded through private church donations.

A recent surge in surrenders this year includes three babies at a Carmel station. Kelsey said there are currently dozens more boxes in the works.

The increase in the number of boxes comes as Indiana lawmakers work to ban most abortions and as Hoosier women will soon find fewer options in the event of an unwanted pregnancy

Elwood Fire Department Chief Mark Sullivan said they are happy to have this option for women in his small town. “This is just another tool in our box,” he said.

Seven states now have the boxes.  Indiana’s Safe Haven law allows anyone 30 days to surrender a newborn.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.