The City of Evansville is set to provide parents of newborns an option to give up a child safely if they feel they cannot adequately care for it through the installation of two new Safe Haven Baby Boxes at two local fire stations.

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes were the idea of Monica Kelsey who founded Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. roughly six years ago. Monica, who discovered in her adult life she was abandoned by her birth parents in her infancy, brought the idea to the United States after seeing a similar concept while spending time in Cape Town, South Africa. In that instance, the box was part of a church in the area, whereas here, Monica, a firefighter and medic herself, is working with fire departments across the county to have them installed at fire stations in their area.

While the decision to give up a child is one I can only imagine is painfully difficult, the concept itself is simple. Provide a place where that parent can leave their baby safely and anonymously knowing that it will be well taken care of. The boxes are built into the wall of the fire station and feature two doors; one on the outside where the parent can access it, and one on the inside where someone inside the fire station can retrieve it quickly, so they can care for it until the next steps can be determined.

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Here's Monica herself showing exactly how the boxes work in a video posted to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes YouTube channel last year.

The two new boxes in Evansville will be located at Station #3 at 310 North Fourth Avenue just a few blocks away from Deaconess Midtown Hospital, and Station #16 located at 2801 Washington Avenue right down the street from Ascension-St. Vincent's Hospital. They will be the fourth and fifth boxes installed in the area and the 86th and 87th in the state. Boonville, Mt. Vernon, and Vincennes also have boxes at fire stations in their communities.

A public unveiling of the boxes will take place this Thursday (October 28th, 2021) at Station #3. Monica Kelsey is expected to be on hand for the unveiling.

As a parent, I can't imagine making the decision to give up a child. With that said, we never truly know someone's story, and in some cases, the baby may be better off in the care of strangers. If you or someone you know is struggling with the decision to keep a baby, Safe Haven does offer a 24-hour, national crisis hotline for mothers who feel they have no one else to turn to. That number is 1-866-99BABY1 (1-866-992-2291).

[Source: Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. Press Release]

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