01 Jun Funding needed for ‘Baby Box’ at McPherson Fire Department
The McPherson Fire Department is looking for funding to install a newborn safety device. This project comes in response to the recent passing of Kansas House Bill 2024. The bill will allow for the legal abandonment of a newborn to a secure and monitored box embedded in the side of a facility with medical personnel on hand. The introduction of this legislation aims to give those who are unwilling or unable to take care of a newborn a legal and safe place for the child to be surrendered (HB2024).
It should be noted that Kansas already had a safe haven law in place, this bill is specifically for the use of drop boxes. From 2008 to 2017 there had been 10 recorded instances in the state of KS of a baby being abandoned using this law.
The addition of these boxes not only serves the community through their intended use, but also as a piece that brings awareness of these options to the community. According to Fire Chief T.J. Wyssmann installing the boxes will help with some of the issues of face-to-face baby surrendering, giving the relinquishing person more ease of mind and control over the situation. In 2008 the MFD received a report that a child had been left in a dumpster in town and, after hours of searching, was recovered. This project aims to eliminate the possibility of that happening again.
MFD has volunteered to install a newborn safety device on its building with the intention of providing this option to our county. MFD has been in contact with Safe Haven Baby Boxes, a national organization that provides newborn safety devices, and the cost of acquiring a box is $11,000.
The ‘Baby Box’ includes features to guarantee the security and safety of abandoned newborns. All boxes come with climate control, a locking mechanism and the system will trigger a dispatch notification upon the placement of a newborn in the box.
Safe Haven, originally starting in Indiana, currently has 147 boxes spread across nine states. Any addition to the state of Kansas would move that number to 10.
Since 2016 Safe Haven boxes have been involved in over 125 safe surrenders.
To donate towards the purchase of a Safe Haven Baby Box you can deliver checks to the foundation office at 1233 N. Main or mail to PO Box 822. Online Gifts can be made here.