BRAZIL, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Safe Haven Baby Boxes are designed to give parents a safe way to surrender their child while remaining anonymous. Currently there are 24 of these locations across Indiana but none in the Wabash Valley, and one woman is working to change that.
A 1997 incident involving a child found at a local park remains fresh in the memory of some Clay County residents.
“We had a baby that was actually left in a port-a-potty at the Knightsville Park,” said Mandy Shepherd, Brazil resident.
Earlier this month, Shepherd stood before the Brazil City Council asking them to consider placing a Safe Haven Baby Box at the Brazil Fire Department.
These boxes allow for parents to securely and safely drop off their newborn to medical professionals if they cannot go directly to a hospital.
“It makes me very sad there isn’t an option for women to drop their babies off and that they think just leaving them is the only way,” Shepherd said.
Later this year, Brazil city officials say they are going to look into the possibility of this resource.
“We’re supposed to have a lady come and she’s going to check out the fire department to see where the best place to locate this safe haven box and give ourselves some more information and hopefully this will work out great for the community,” said Brad Deal, Brazil City Council Ward 1.
Deal says if a safe haven box will prevent tragedy involving babies, he believes it will be a positive for the community.
“If we can save one life, one babies life, it’s well worth it,” Deal said.
Deal says if Brazil does approve a Safe Haven Baby Box, he hopes other surrounding cities will also look into the idea.
According to the National Safe Haven Alliance, there has been over 1,400 illegal baby drop-offs reported since 1999.
Indiana law does allow for parents to relinquish newborns who are 30 days and younger anonymously if the baby is dropped off at a emergency medical provider or hospital.