The first infant in Kentucky was anonymously left at one of the state's "baby box" safe surrender locations after a new state law allowed newborns to be dropped off anonymously.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder and CEO Monica Kelsey said at a news conference Friday the child was dropped off within the prior week at a Bowling Green Fire Department location, and that fire department staff was able to tend to the child in less than 90 seconds.
This is the 24th child in the country to be surrendered at one of more than 130 baby boxes and drawers established across nine states by Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
"This baby is healthy. This baby is beautiful. This baby is perfect," Kelsey said, adding that officials are now looking to place the child in a "forever home."
Friday's surrender comes after Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, D, signed a law in 2021 allowing infants 30 days old or younger to be dropped off at baby boxes. The law requires the boxes to be located at police stations, fire stations, or hospitals that are staffed 24 hours a day and also mandates that these locations be equipped with a notification system to alert staff on site that a child was dropped off.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes Founder Monica Kelsey speaks at an event with a Kentucky Safe Haven Baby Box sign behind her. (Photo courtesy of Safe Haven Baby Boxes)
Kentucky currently has 16 baby box locations. The Bowling Green box had been operational for less than two months when the baby was surrendered on Friday.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes are installed in the exterior wall of a police station, fire station or hospital. An exterior door automatically locks when a child is placed inside the box, and an interior door notifies a medical staff member so they can secure the baby from inside the building.
"This child was legally, safely, anonymously and lovingly placed inside of this Safe Haven Baby Box, and that speaks volumes about the parents," Kelsey said.
"This child was left safely and legally in this baby box so that the baby could be pulled from the other side by the firefighter," she continued. "The fire department did exactly what they were trained to do, and it worked flawlessly."
FILE-Kentucky Gov.-elect Andy Beshear speaks to supporters at an event in Louisville, Kentucky. (John Sommers II/Getty Images)
Republican state Rep. Nancy Tate, who sponsored the legislation, told WNKY-TV that she hopes to have at least one box in every county in the state.
"It makes my heart full to know how supportive this project is," Tate said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report