Right to Life of Southwest Indiana (RTLSWIN) and the City of Evansville are partnering to install two Safe Haven Baby Boxes in efforts to raise awareness of Safe Haven Laws and save the lives of babies. Indiana leads the United States with a total of 13 boxes located throughout the state.
A Baby Box is a safety device provided for under state’s Safe Haven Law and legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender if she is unable to care for her newborn. A Baby Box is installed in an exterior wall of a designated fire station or hospital. It has an exterior door that automatically locks upon placement of a newborn inside the Baby Box, and an interior door which allows a medical staff member to secure the surrendered newborn from inside the designated building.
The city will partner with the Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization which will license the boxes to the installment locations. Each temperature-controlled box has a multiple alarm system that sounds when a baby is placed in the confines of the box. Locations have yet to be determined in Evansville, but are primarily housed at hospitals or fire stations where on-site medical personnel can be alerted immediately to the surrendered child. Since September of 2019, three babies have been saved in Indiana from possible abandonment or death through the Safe Haven Baby Boxes; and, a total of 9 babies have been saved since April 2016.
“With the Safe Haven Laws in place, there is no reason for a child to suffer through illegal abandonment,” said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, City of Evansville. “The two locations in Evansville will help parents in crisis to surrender without retribution.”
“Our mission at Right to Life of Southwest Indiana is to protect life, and we are delighted that the City of Evansville sees the importance of having the Safe Haven Baby Boxes within the community,” said Mary Ellen Van Dyke, Executive Director of Right to Life of Southwest Indiana. “These projects are being funded by Right to Life through our generous donors.” The Safe Haven Baby Boxes will not only help save babies, but help raise awareness for Indiana’s Safe Haven Laws which states that a person may surrender an infant anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution.
RTLSWIN is responsible for all funds needed to purchase, install and maintain the baby boxes with no cost to the City of Evansville. Donations for Safe Haven Baby Boxes can be made by calling the RTLSWIN office at 812-474-3195 or sending your check to 20 NW Third Street, Suite 810, Evansville, IN 47708 with Safe Haven Baby Boxes in the note section.