BENTON, Ark. – The first newborn was legally surrendered under Arkansas’s safe haven law in a Safe Haven Baby Box at Fire Station #3 in Benton last week.
The Safe Haven Baby Box at the Benton fire station was the first to be available in Arkansas in September 2019 and was the 15th Safe Haven Baby Box to be installed in the United States, according to a release sent Thursday from Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc.
“The Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization provides new resources for a completely anonymous surrender option to parents who may have fear or feel shame that is associated with a surrender.”, says Founder and CEO, Monica Kelsey, who was also abandoned at birth. “We continue to provide this necessary resource of anonymity with 25 active locations and more planned in the coming months. The Safe Haven Baby Box is for women who may be considering this as their only option for a safe surrender.”
The Arkansas Safe Haven law (A.C.A. § 9-34-201) allows a parent to bring a child, 30 days old or younger to an employee at any hospital emergency room, manned fire station or law enforcement agency without facing prosecution for endangering or abandoning a child. A parent can also use a safety device (Baby Box) that is installed in the exterior wall of a fire station or hospital to ensure 100% anonymity for the parent, according to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. Once a baby is surrendered, the Arkansas Department of Human Services will facilitate adoption for the baby to be placed in a permanent and loving home.