1st Baby Box Surrender of the Year in Belen, NM and 3rd in the Country for 2024

BELEN, NEW MEXICO (FEBRUARY 7, 2024)- Belen Fire Department had its 1st baby surrendered in their Safe Haven Baby Box earlier this week. The location was blessed just months ago at the end of October 2023. Belen’s baby is the 41st in the program’s history since 2017. So far three babies have been lovingly surrendered in Baby Boxes in 2024. The Safe Haven Baby Boxes program is the only one that allows for anonymous surrender. The 200th location across the nation was blessed today at Roswell Fire Department. A press conference will be held at 121 South 5th Street, Belen, New Mexico 87002, at 4 PM on February 7th to provide more information.  

Safe Haven Baby Boxes was formed by Monica Kelsey in 2016 as she learned in adulthood that she was abandoned as an infant. Today, the organization fights tirelessly to protect women in crisis and their infants in a mission to end infant abandonment. A key aspect of this mission is the Safe Haven Baby Box which allows for the legal safe surrender of a baby with complete anonymity. Currently, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, West Virginia, and Mississippi have a Baby Box presence within their state. States that have amended their Safe Haven laws to include the Baby Box program include Texas, Wisconsin, and Kansas.  Thirteen more states have legislation currently filed.

The organization aids women in crisis with their National Hotline, 1-866-99BABY1. The hotline provides free, confidential counseling with expertise in each state’s Safe Haven Law. Education is a key component of Safe Haven Baby Boxes’ mission. Kelsey shared, “We are so thankful that this mother trusted our organization to lovingly place her baby in the hope for better opportunities for her infant. The Belen community invested in this program last year and has already seen the amazing impact it can have at protecting vulnerable community members. This baby is an answered prayer to a family out there waiting for this chance. We know this mother acted out of love and we are proud of her selflessness.”

If a woman chooses to surrender her infant via the Baby Box, the door locks when the mother closes the box. Alarms alert the location that a baby has been surrendered and personnel will retrieve the infant within five minutes. The infant will immediately be transported to the hospital for medical evaluation and the baby will be with their adoptive family soon. Families seeking to adopt a Safe Haven baby should reach out to their local Department of Family Services to register for foster care with intention to adopt. 

 For more information please contact Monica at monicakelsey@safehavenbabyboxes.com