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Hours-old infant surrendered at Woodburn site of baby box

February 26, 2019 GMT

An infant was surrendered at the Woodburn Fire Department, site of the state’s first baby box designed to safely accept babies given up by their parents.

It’s the first time a child has been surrendered at the location, according to an announcement Monday. The infant was surrendered over the weekend.

Monica Kelsey, who founded nonprofit Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., said a woman called the organization’s hotline asking for help and agreed to give the child over to a Woodburn firefighter. Kelsey said the boxes are safe, but it is preferable that surrenders be face-to-face.

“She’s a hero, in my book,” she said. “She had all these other options that were not as beneficial.”

Kelsey declined to say what day the child was surrendered or identify the child’s sex. The baby was just a few hours old, she said.

There are six baby boxes in Indiana, and two in Ohio, according to the organization’s website. Arizona has five “baby drawers,” the site states.

A baby girl in LaPorte County in 2017 was the first child surrendered to a baby box. Three children : including two recently in Whitley and Kosciusko counties : have been surrendered this year in northeast Indiana, Kelsey said.

“She absolutely did the best thing possible for this child if she had no other options,” Kelsey said, referring to the mother who dropped off the child in Woodburn. “This is really a win for the community.”

The child is healthy, she said, and is in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

mleblanc@jg.net