Last month, a new option for mothers choosing to give up an unharmed, newborn child came into existence in Indiana. On April 19, Indiana introduced “baby boxes”—locked, padded, climate-controlled boxes typically built into the outside wall of a firehouse or hospital—for use as a safe haven for newly born children.
Safe haven laws, which allow mothers or caregivers to surrender a child anonymously and without fear of prosecution, are in effect in all 50 states. While most states allow for babies to be dropped off at hospital emergency rooms, fire stations, and police stations, Indiana is among the first states to also allow babies less than 30 days old to be dropped off in newly built baby boxes.
At Hessler Law, our experienced Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers have fought to help protect children and to keep families in tact. We are all too familiar with the pain that giving up a child can cause. If you’d like to learn more about children in need of services or Indiana’s Safe Haven laws, contact one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Indianapolis with at Hessler Law today.
Indiana’s Safe Haven Law
Through its Safe Haven laws, the State of Indiana is committed to providing mothers or other caregivers the right to anonymously give up an unwanted infant, so long as the infant is less than 30 days old, without fear of arrest or prosecution. As long as the infant is not injured or showing sign of abuse, no information from the person giving up the baby is required. After the baby is received and provided with medical treatment, if necessary, it is placed into custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services through Child Protective Services, after which point it is given to a caregiver.
What Are “Baby Boxes”?
Indiana’s baby boxes give mothers and caregivers another option for securely dropping-off an unwanted, unharmed infant—at a location that is, in many cases, more anonymous than at a police station or hospital. Indiana’s first baby box is installed along the exterior wall of Woodburn Fire Department in Woodburn; it’s second is installed at Cool Spring Fire Department in Michigan City. In both locations, the boxes work by alerting emergency dispatch of the presence of an infant within one minute. The boxes themselves are climate-controlled and secure; they automatically lock so that no one but emergency personnel can take the infant after it has been placed in the box.
Those in favor of baby boxes content that baby boxes provide an anonymous, safe, and secure way for mothers to give up unwanted infants. Furthermore, proponents content that baby boxes deter parents from leaving babies in fatal conditions, such as in the woods or in a trashcan. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that baby boxes may not be safe enough for a newborn infant, given that there are no existing standards of protocols that can guarantee the safety of the child after it has been placed in the box. Those against the boxes also argue against the cost of the boxes, which can from $1,500 to $2,000 each.
How the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers in Indianapolis Can Help You
At Hessler Law, our criminal defense lawyers in Indianapolis are skilled at assisting family members who are seeking to navigate Indiana’s Safe Haven laws or who are concerned about the safety and welfare of their children. If you would like to learn more baby boxes, children in need of services, or Indiana’s Safe Haven laws, contact one of the skilled criminal defense lawyers in Indianapolis at Hessler Law today: (317) 886-8800.