INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis Fire Department station took in a 1-day old baby and it was the first use of Safe Haven for the Indianapolis Fire Department.
“It was a feel good moment,” IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith said. “Unfortunately, we hate to see anyone find themselves in this situation where they feel they have to give up their child, but they just did the right thing.”
According to IFD, around 6:40 a.m. a man arrived at Station 30 on Tibbs Avenue and rang the doorbell. Firefighters say the man handed them a baby, telling them he wished to turn him over to child services.
His actions were hard for some parents to comprehend. “I have three grown kids, and I’ve been through my struggles, but not one time have I ever thought to just drop them off like that,” Steven White said.
The man was utilizing the Safe Haven law, which allows for a child 1-30 days old to be securely placed into the hands of authorities if the parents feel they are unable to properly care for that child – no questions asked.
Firefighters say the man, who wished to remain anonymous, was around 25 years old. He told them the baby was a day old and not born in a hospital. According to IFD, the baby was clean, stable, content, in good health and was wearing a clean diaper. Officials say the man gave firefighters additional supplies for the baby that he brought with him. He said the baby’s mother was OK.
Indiana Department of Child Services officials say they’ll work with Indiana State Police to see if there are any missing child reports. If not, it’ll begin the adoption process. Since the law went into place in 2001, officials said 31 people have utilized it.
All IFD stations have clearly visible Safe Place signs on their buildings. It’s a separate program, but complements the Safe Haven law, officials say.
Although some are sad to see a parent give up a child this way, they’re happy the law is in place. “I do thank God for that aspect of him thinking,” White said. “To get a child away to somebody that he knows is going to take care of the child. So in that aspect of the story, it’s a blessing.”
Indiana Senator Jim Merritt pushed for the law. On Wednesday, he released a statement to 24-Hour News 8.
“Today we celebrate the success of Indiana’s Safe Haven Law in saving the life of a child. 16 years ago, we dealt with the tragedy of a baby being left out in the cold by its parents and dying. We created the Safe Haven Law to help ensure that would never happen again. I not only celebrate the life of this baby, but the decision the parent made to bring the baby to safety.”