New legislation allows fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day to install Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
While most fire departments have been deemed a “safe place” for years, it’s different when it concerns infants.
So local departments are weighing the possible impact on the services they provide.
The technology has been around for a while but the new law is making it more accessible for agencies like the Terre Haute Fire Department.
Although they don’t have any boxes yet, Chief Jeff Fisher says it could be an option for the future.
The expanded Safe Haven law should give more parents-in-need a place to leave their baby.
“It’s not that these parents don’t love their child, because they absolutely love their child, they’re just in a situation that none of us can probably understand. our organization has no judgment and we wont start now,” says Monica Kelsey, Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
The Terre Haute Fire Department has considered the boxes in the past and if they ever got the funding, Chief Jeff Fisher says he has thought about where they would be located.”We would probably have them on the outlying stations, the four corners, and then definitely one downtown,” he says.
THFD has had procedures for abandoned babies for years but it requires the parent drop off the infant to a person inside a station.
“If there is a baby in danger out there or an unwanted baby, go to the fire houses. Our fire houses are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” says Chief Fisher.
Once the child is handed over the procedure is the same as the baby box and there are no questions asked.
“DCS will take the child immediately place a 30 day CINS hold, that’s child in need of services, make sure all the paperwork, place child with foster family,” says Walt Peycha, Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
The box allows more anonymity for the parent and safer conditions for the baby left behind.
“Don’t leave the child outside in the weather or things like that. Watch for us to come back, come back at another time when someone is in the fire house because we don’t want the children left out in the elements.” says Captain Russell Feuquay, Terre Haute Fire Department.
After the baby is turned over to foster care there is a 30 day hold in case the parents change their mind and want to provide dna proof that they are in fact the parents of the child to take them back home.
THFD says if a parent does come to drop off a baby they can still be anonymous. They only ask that if the child has any medical needs or conditions that they let them know verbally or with a note.