(UnitedVoice.com) – Sometimes, a person has a child they are not prepared to take care of for whatever reason. Maybe they’re a scared teenager who was assaulted by someone and hid their pregnancy. Or perhaps an adult who is completely overwhelmed. There was a time when people who could not care for these babies would abandon them with such frequency states began to take notice. Legislators around the country began passing Safe Haven laws and creating baby drop boxes where struggling mothers could safely surrender the child, no questions asked.
One state installed one of those drop boxes less than two months ago, and someone has already used it.
Kentucky Baby Drop Box
On Friday, February 10, Monica Kelsey, who founded Safe Haven Baby Boxes, announced someone dropped off an infant in a newly installed baby box in Kentucky, according to the Associated Press. She said the infant was “legally, safely, anonymously and lovingly placed inside” and commended the parent for making that decision.
The drop-off occurred sometime in the week prior at a Bowling Green Fire Department station, and the staff responded in less than two minutes. Kelsey told the press the baby is healthy and perfect.
In 2021, Governor Andy Beshear (D) signed a law allowing the use of baby boxes for infants less than 30 days old. The boxes are placed at hospitals, police departments, or fire stations. Someone is there to staff the boxes 24 hours a day to ensure a quick response when an alarm is triggered, notifying them someone used it. The state also allows parents to surrender the baby in a Safe Haven location that might not have a baby box as long as the infant is less than 30 days old.
There are more than 130 baby boxes across nine states. Parents have surrendered 24 infants using them.
Safe Haven Laws
In 1999, the Texas legislature became the first to pass a Safe Haven law. More than 20 years later, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have the laws in place. As mentioned, they allow parents to legally abandon their infants at a designated location without fear of punishment. Generally, the locations have a sign on the building letting people know they are a Safe Haven, but hospitals, fire departments, and police stations all accept infants.
The laws vary from state to state. While Kentucky allows the surrender of infants under 30 days old, others require parents to give up the infant within 72 hours. So, it’s important for mothers to check the rules in their state before surrendering their babies. No matter what, nobody should ever abandon a baby on the side of the road or somewhere else where they are left unattended. There is always someone willing to help.
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