baby box 3 (copy)

The inside of the Safe Haven Baby Box installed last fall at the new Clarksville Fire Station at 106 Stansifer Ave. The boxes provide parents who are in crisis and unable to care for their baby a way to get the child to safety and a family with the resources to provide care.

CLARKSVILLE — A healthy newborn baby was safely, legally and anonymously surrendered in a Safe Haven Baby Box at a Clarksville fire station Sunday morning.

"On the morning of May 2, 2021, a beautiful newborn baby was safely surrendered to the Clarksville Fire Department's Safe Haven Baby Box," Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs said. "The parent or parents of the child made a choice based on love and grace! With a dedicated team and available resources this choice has provided hope, love, and a life for this child."

The baby box was dedicated and made available to the public in October 2020.

The way it works is that a parent who has made the difficult decision to surrender an infant places the child in a secure space that can be opened from outside. A silent alarm alerts firefighters that a baby is present, and they can immediately remove the infant from the space and contact the proper channels, the News and Tribune previously reported.

The program was born out of Indiana’s Safe Haven Law, enacted in 2000, which allows parents to anonymously surrender a child 30 days old or younger without facing prosecution. Surrendering the child is likely a last-resort option for parents, and other avenues for help are available, including a 24-hour crisis hotline and adoption assistance.

Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, said of the baby surrender in Clarksville, "This mother loved this child, and it takes a very special person to want what's best for a child and know that it's not her. That's the ultimate act of selflessness. I'm so thankful she chose a safe place to surrender her child and not in a dumpster or trash can like we see too many times."

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