Politics

Idaho Welcomes First Safe Haven Baby Box to Fight Infant Abandonment

Idaho has welcomed its first Safe Haven Baby Box, a device created to deter parents from abandoning their newborns in unsafe conditions, potentially leaving them to die.

The box, which is located at Grove Creek Medical Center at 350 N Meridian in Blackfoot, was officially blessed on Tuesday, making it the 245th Safe Haven Baby Box across the country, Local News 8 reported. Monica Kelsey founded the organization in 2015 to combat infant abandonment, and 17 states now have baby boxes. The organization also has a confidential National Hotline, 1-866-99BABY1 (1-866-992-2291).

Posted by Grove Creek Medical Center on Tuesday, July 9, 2024

“We are thrilled to add Idaho to our states dedicated to end infant abandonment! We have seen time and time again that preparation can save and change lives,” Kelsey said. “We never know when or where we will be needed, so it is crucial to have options for mothers in crisis.”

Baby boxes are temperature-controlled incubators often built into exterior walls of fire stations, police stations, and hospitals that can be accessed from the inside. At-risk mothers can safely and legally place their newborns inside. Once a baby is inside the baby box, the outside door locks, and the mother has time to leave before an alarm goes off alerting first responders or hospital staff to the child’s presence.

The baby is then quickly removed and sent to a hospital for a wellness check. From there, the baby is usually placed into state custody and is often adopted quickly.

At least 50 infants have been surrendered to baby boxes since 2017, according to the local news outlet. 

“The National Safe Haven Crisis line has helped with more than 150 handoff surrenders, and those numbers increase each year,” the report continues.  

Idaho lawmakers unanimously passed an amendment to the existing Safe Haven Baby Act in March allowing Safe Haven Baby Boxes to be used, according to the Idaho State Journal. Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) quickly signed the law and it went into effect on July 1.

“The new law says that a child has to be 30 days or younger when surrendered to the state’s care, eventually leading to adoption,” according to the report.  



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