by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner

More than six months later, Long Beach Mayor George Bass and several aldermen signed the contract approving a Safe Haven Baby Box to be set up at a local city fire station.  
The Box itself is located inside a local fire station/police station or hospital. It contains a silent alarm that activates as soon as the mother opens the box. A second sensor activates once the infant is laid into the medical grade bassinet. EMS/911 Dispatch is activated upon the box opening. 

Once the child is obtained by EMS they will go to the local hospital where they will be medically evaluated. At this time, Child Protection Services is contacted, and measures are then taken to proceed with adoptive placement.

“We couldn’t be more impressed by and thankful for the city of Long Beach for their willingness to meet the needs of women in crisis and infant children,” expressed Safe Haven Baby Box organizer Caitlin Kelly, who began the process with her husband Steve.  “They were prepared to make a decision and it was obvious they thoroughly evaluated the Safe Haven Baby Box mission prior to our arrival.”

Safe Haven Baby Box was first founded in 2016 by a woman named Monica Kelsey. She was an abandoned baby herself in Indiana back in the 1970s and she has made it her mission that the Safe Haven organization’s primary goal is to raise awareness for Safe Haven Law. 

Her organization also provides a national 24 hour hotline where mothers can receive assistance free of charge. 

To date, this hotline has helped more than 8,000 women from every state in the United States. They have referred over 500 women to crisis centers and have assisted in over 120 legal safe infant surrenders and to date 22 babies have been surrendered in Baby Boxes, 7 of those babies have been surrendered just this year.

Previously, Long Beach City Attorney Steve Simpson told Kelly that “implementing this program and the annual fees that come with this, as far as maintenance and equipment need some fur- ther discussion with the vendor. There is some legal language that requires you to provide some identification that the city can not do under state law.”

Shortly after, Kelly expressed that donations and other types of fundraising will undoubtedly happen once the legal language of the contract was worked out and the board approved.

Currently, the Mississippi State Legislature has a bill, HB 1318, that is in conference committee to have this safe haven baby drop off with revised provisions to regulate.  Representative Jill Ford was the author of this bill attempting to make this procedure state law.

Photo:  Caitlin Kelly watches as Long Beach Mayor George Bass signs the approval of the contract for the first Safe Haven Baby Box in Mississippi.  Photo by City of Long Beach.