To date, only two
communities in Indiana currently have a Safe Haven Baby Box available to
mothers of newborns: Woodburn--where the boxes were developed--and
Coolspring Township in LaPorte County.
at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department (CTVFD)--was used
earlier this month by a mother to give her infant up, safely and
It’s unknown who
the mother was, but investigators have speculated that she may possibly be
the same who apparently gave birth in a portable restroom on the Prairie
Duneland Trail, where on Nov. 8--the day after the CTVFD’s box was
used--afterbirth was discovered in the toilet tank.
however, has prompted an interest on the Chesterton Town Council in Safe
Haven Baby Boxes.
At the council’s
meeting Monday night, President Jim Ton, R-1st, suggested that there could
well be a need in this community for a Safe Haven Baby Box. “There’s too
much to risk and too much to lose by not having one,” he said.
agreed by consensus to ask Police Chief Dave Cincoski and Fire Chief John
Jarka to investigate the feasibility of obtaining and installing a baby box
at an appropriate location in town.
Safe Haven Baby
Boxes were created by Woodburn resident Monica Kelsey, according to the
Under the state’s
Save Haven Law--as explained by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS)
on its website--persons are “able to give up an unwanted infant anonymously
without fear of arrest or prosecution.”
“As long as there
are no signs of intentional abuse on the baby, no information is required of
the person leaving the baby,” DCS states. “Any knowledge of the date of
birth, race, parent medical history, child’s health, or anything that would
be useful to the child’s caregiver would be greatly appreciated.”
Once the baby is
examined by medical professionals, DCS takes custody of the child to place
with a caregiver.
Kelsey, for her
part, developed the Safe Haven Baby Box “to take the face-to-face
interaction out of the surrender.” Or as the website states, “No Shame, No
Blame, No Names.”
Members took a
moment at the end of the meeting to give high marks to this year’s edition
of the Hometown Holiday Celebration, hosted and organized as always by the
Duneland Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber “did an
outstanding job,” said Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, who suggested
that--coinciding as the event did with Small Business Saturday--Hometown
Holiday likely provided a real boost to the Downtown’s retailers. “I walked
the whole length of it and it was like the Wizard of Oz Fest all over again.
It was very successful, at least to the retailers I talked to. Everybody was
happy. Everybody was pleased. It went very well.”
Member Nate Cobbs,
R-4th, concurred. “The park looked amazing with the lights,” he said. “And
it couldn’t have been done without the help of all the town employees.”
expressed his gratitude to Jenny Vidimos and her family, who donated
Hometown Holiday’s centerpiece--a 30-foot evergreen tree from her
property--to the Chamber.