First Infant in Kentucky Surrendered Anonymously at ‘Baby Box’

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
February 12, 2023US News
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First Infant in Kentucky Surrendered Anonymously at ‘Baby Box’
The Bowling Green Fire Department's (BGFD) Safe Haven Baby Box at BGFD's Fire Station 7 in Bowling Green, Ky., on Feb. 10, 2023. (Grace Ramey/Daily News via AP)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.—Kentucky has seen its first infant anonymously dropped off at one of its “baby box” safe surrender locations.

At a news conference Friday, Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder and CEO Monica Kelsey said the child was dropped off within the last seven days at a Bowling Green Fire Department location, declining to be more specific to protect anonymity. She said fire department staff was able to tend to the child in less than 90 seconds.

The child is the 24th in the country to be surrendered at one of more than 130 baby boxes and drawers the organization has established across nine states.

“This baby is healthy. This baby is beautiful. This baby is perfect,” said Kelsey, who added that officials are now looking to place the child in “a forever home.”

Monica Kelsey
Safe Haven Baby Boxes Founder Monica Kelsey speaks at a news conference at a Bowling Green Fire Department station in Bowling Green, Ky., on Feb. 10, 2023. (Grace Ramey/Daily News via AP)

Gov. Andy Beshear signed a law in 2021 that allows the use of baby boxes for children less than 30 days old. The law requires the boxes to be located at police stations, fire stations, or hospitals that are staffed 24 hours a day. It also requires equipping them with a notification system to alert the first responders on site that a child has been placed inside the box.

Kentucky now has 16 baby box locations. The Bowling Green box had been operational for less than two months. Safe Haven Baby Boxes are installed in the exterior wall of a fire station or hospital. An exterior door automatically locks when a newborn is placed inside, and an interior door lets a medical staff member secure the baby from inside the building.

“This child was legally, safely, anonymously, and lovingly placed inside of this Safe Haven Baby Box, and that speaks volumes about the parent,” Kelsey said.

Republican state Rep. Nancy Tate, who sponsored the legislation, told WNKY-TV that it’s her goal to have at least one box in every Kentucky county.

“It makes my heart full to know how supportive this project is,” Tate said.

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