A newborn has been surrendered at Florida’s only Safe Haven Baby Box, according to Ocala Fire Rescue. It marks the first time someone has utilized the state’s only box since its installation in 2020.
Officials made the announcement January 5th during a press conference.
The newborn, who was surrendered “over the holiday,” was left in Florida’s only Safe Haven Baby Box located at Ocala Fire Rescue’s Headquarters in Ocala, Florida.
The climate-controlled box is just one of 134 boxes across the country that allow parents to safely and anonymously surrender their infants to authorities.
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“I’m so happy to hear of this miracle baby,” Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn said. “I knew when we did this in 2020, this day would come. We all did. We just didn’t know when. We’re glad it was there as a resource for the mother of this child. I’m sure there will be a bright future ahead for this precious child.”
Monica Kelsey, the organization’s founder, was present at the press conference. She took a moment to praise the parent who surrendered their child.
“The first thing that we want is we want to address the parents who legally surrendered this infant. And right now I’m going to talk directly to her or him,” she said. “Thank you. Thank you for keeping your child safe. Thank you for bringing your child to a place that you knew was going to take care of this child. And thank you for doing what you felt was best.”
Kelsey started the organization after officials were still finding dead and abandoned babies despite states having Safe Haven laws.
Each box is climate-controlled and is equipped with a silent alarm that alerts firefighters that there is a baby inside. The alarm sounds 60 seconds after the child is placed inside giving the parent enough time to safely get away.
Within minutes the newborn receives any necessary medical care, and they are adopted in 30 to 45 days.
“And I’m sure this was not an easy option choose, but I want you to know that we’re honoring you today because I hope you find peace in knowing that your child is safe, your child is healthy, and your child will be placed with a set of adoptive parents, if it hasn’t already,” Kelsey said to the child’s parents.
According to the organization’s website, 23 babies have been legally surrendered since the first baby box was installed in 2017.
To the parent who surrendered their child: thank you for giving your baby a second chance at life. You did the right thing.
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