A healthy newborn baby girl was placed inside the Safe Haven Baby Box at Franciscan Health Hospital in Hammond on Sept. 6, less than 30 days after that box became operational, according to the hospital.
She is the third infant placed in a Safe Haven Baby Box in Indiana in less than two years, according to Robert Blaszkiewicz, Franciscan Health Northern District spokesperson.
Franciscan Hospital Emergency Department and security were notified by an alarm as soon as the infant was placed in the box. Within 90 seconds, the newborn baby was retrieved from the box and received medical care, a release said.
“I want to personally thank the brave mother that carried her child to term, kept her safe, and then exercised her rights under the safe haven law and surrendered her newborn in our box. She is healthy and perfect,” said Monica Kelsey, Founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
“This brave young mom is exactly why I fight so hard to give moms more options. She contacted us within a few days of the surrender, and we are providing her resources available in her area to give her the support she needs. She did not call the hotline before placing the newborn in the box, and she is not from the Hammond area,” Kelsey added.
The newborn has been released from the hospital and is now in the custody of the Department of Child Services. That department is working on the standard safe haven surrender process to find her an adoptive family within 30 days, Blaszkiewicz said.
Indiana’s Safe Haven Law allows people to take newborn babies to any hospital emergency room, police station or fire station without any questions asked and no risk of arrest or prosecution. The Safe Haven Baby Box allows anonymity with no penalty, Blaszkiewicz said during a phone interview.
Hammond Police Lt. Steve Kellogg confirmed that fact. “No, we don’t get any notification,” said Kellogg, Hammond Police public information officer.
The Safe Haven Baby Box is located outside the Women’s Specialty Center and Renal Dialysis Center entrance at the hospital and provides a last resort for women in crisis, said Danielle Crowder, prenatal care program director at Franciscan Health Hammond, during the Aug. 7 dedication ceremony.
Franciscan Health Hospital currently has Safe Haven Baby Boxes available in Hammond and Michigan City. There are currently 14 active Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana and Ohio and several more planned to go live by the end of 2019, Blaszkiewicz said in a release.
“If you would like to adopt this little girl, contact your local Department of Social Services and register as a foster/adoption family,” he said. “There are thousands of kids in foster care looking for forever families.”