Kosciusko County sees first baby surrendered through “Safe Haven”

Kosciusko County’s first baby surrender through the Safe Haven Baby Box Foundation was confirmed Friday morning by Dave Koontz, executive director of Right to Life of North Central Indiana.

A post on the group’s Facebook page, confirmed by Koontz, said, “We just received a report from Safe Haven Baby Box Foundation that the first-ever Kosciusko County baby surrender took place recently. We can’t share details except to say that the woman called the Safe Haven hotline number and they were able to direct her to a Kosciusko County location.

“The Indiana State Safe Haven law allows for a baby to be surrendered at a fire station or hospital. Baby Boxes have not been installed yet in Kosciusko County but it appears that our publicizing the Safe Haven hotline number is already having an impact.

“Thanks to so many of you who support Right to Life of North Central Indiana. You have been a part of the billboard campaign to promote the hotline number. You’re helping save lives!”

Koontz declined to give further details of the surrender.

Three months ago, the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory accepted a recommendation by Fire Chief Mike Wilson to install a Safe Haven baby box at fire station No. 2 on Center Street in Warsaw. The boxes are intended as  a last resort option for mothers who are seeking to abandon their newborn and avoid criminal prosecution.

Koontz said since then the Right to Life group has placed the Save Haven Foundation’s phone number on billboards throughout Kosciusko and Whitley counties.

In addition to the proposed baby box in Warsaw, Koontz said plans are to expand the billboard outreach to nearby counties. He said discussions are in various stages for boxes in Logansport, Syracuse and Wabash.

“If those all went in, we’d have the largest concentration of baby boxes in the country,”?Koontz said.

The proposed baby box for Warsaw is on the agenda for the next Warsaw Common Council meeting, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 102 S. Buffalo St.