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'No judgment': Safe Haven baby box dedicated at Nicholasville fire station

Josh James

Kentucky’s 35th Safe Haven Baby Box has been added at the Nicholasville Fire Department’s station four. The last resort option is designed to prevent illegal abandonment of babies – while taking any face-to-face interaction out of the surrender process.

Thursday marked the dedication of the Safe Haven organization’s 222nd baby box in the country. The unveiling was bookended by prayers and a blessing, as roughly 50 people gathered around the small enclosure with a glass window on the inside, temperature controls, and a triple alarm system that’s meant to ensure as fast a response as possible.

Monica Kelsey is CEO of Safe Haven. She says, were a mother to leave her child in this particular baby box, the response would be measured in just minutes.

"I tested this box right before so that I can sign off on it. Their time was one minute and fifty-five seconds, so that baby would have only been in that box for one minute and fifty-five seconds. So it's extremely quick and it has to be because these are newborn babies that we're talking about. Most of these babies are not born in hospitals," Kelsey says. "We also want to give the mom the dignity and respect and no judgement and allow her to do this on her terms, not ours."

With the cause running parallel to the far more divisive issue of abortion, one might expect some political pushback surrounding the baby boxes, but Republican State Rep. Nancy Tate says – at least when it comes to votes in the Kentucky General Assembly – lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have readily supported them.

"These babies have been born, and so everybody can surround themselves around the baby that's been born," the lawmaker adds,

Tate says, so far, three babies have been surrendered at boxes in Fern Creek and Bowling Green.

Organizers say they are working to get a Safe Haven box placed in Lexington.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.