Safe Haven Baby Box CEO Advocates for Increased Safety Devices in Florida
Safe Haven Baby Boxes Push for Expansion in Florida
In a quest to provide options for mothers in crisis and reduce instances of child abandonment, Monica Kelsey, Founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, is working with Florida leaders to bring more baby boxes to the state. The aim is to expand the availability of this safety device which legally permits a mom to surrender their newborn anonymously.
The inspiration behind Kelsey’s passion stems from her experiences growing up. “I stand on the front lines of this movement as one of these kids that wasn’t lovingly and safely and anonymously placed in a Safe Haven baby box,” Kelsey said. Kelsey was abandoned as a baby by her 17-year-old mother who was raped and left on the side of the road.
The safe haven boxes are installed in the exterior of designated fire stations or hospitals, and a staff member can retrieve the child once placed inside. The law around this service varies, but in Florida, parents can legally hand over their newborn to a staff member at a hospital or a fire station.
The move to bring more baby boxes to the state comes after the six-week abortion ban passed, with Kelsey urging the need for more options for parents when the child arrives. However, legislators fear that the box will malfunction, and democratic State Senator Lauren Book said she believes it is a dangerous situation to provide a system that’s already in place.
Despite these reservations, there is currently no law stating the device can’t be used in Florida. The Safe Haven Baby Box organization runs on donations and fundraising, and according to Kelsey, the expansion will not cost taxpayers anything. Currently, there is only one baby box in the state, which is located at an Ocala fire department. It’s been in use for two years, but it wasn’t until this year that a child was surrendered using the device.
The organization aims to provide a safety option for mothers who feel they cannot care for their child, reducing the instances of child abandonment. Safe Haven Baby Boxes advocate for the availability of the boxes within communities, providing a safety net for parents and children alike.