First child surrenders anonymously to ‘baby box’ in Kentucky

First child surrenders anonymously to ‘baby box’ in Kentucky

Bowling Green, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky has seen its first child drop anonymously into a “baby box” safe surrender position.

At a news conference Friday, Safe Haven Baby Box founder and CEO Monica Kelsey said the baby had been dropped off at the Bowling Green Fire Department location within the past seven days, declining to be more specific on the condition of anonymity. Fire department personnel were able to attend to the child in less than 90 seconds, he said.

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

“This child is healthy. This baby is beautiful. This baby is perfect,” Kelsey said. “And the Department of Child Services is now looking for a forever home for this family.”

Gov. Andy Bezier signed a law in 2021 that allows the use of baby boxes for babies under 30 days old. The law requires the boxes to be staffed 24 hours a day at police stations, fire stations or hospitals. First responders on site need to be equipped with a notification system to alert them that a child has been placed inside the box.

There are now 16 Baby Box locations in Kentucky. The Bowling Green Box was in operation for less than two months. A Safe Haven Baby Box is placed on the outside wall of a fire station or hospital. An exterior door automatically locks when a newborn is placed inside, and an interior door allows a medical staff member to secure the baby from inside the building.

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

Republican state Sen. Nancy Tate, who sponsored the legislation, told WNKY-TV His goal is to have at least one box in every Kentucky county.

“It fills my heart to know how helpful this project is,” Tate said.

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