Troy Safe Haven Baby Box under investigation

TROY — The Safe Haven Baby Box, No. 118, installed in August at Troy Fire Department Station 11, on Canal Street, is under investigation by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

A dedication ceremony was held for the newborn infant safety incubator at the fire department on Aug. 26, 2022. City officials, along with State Rep. Jenna Powell, R-80 District, U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-OH 8th District, and Safe Haven Baby Box founder Monica Kelsey, attended the ceremony. A week later the ODH sent out a letter notifying Troy Fire Chief Matt Simmons the location of the baby box is under investigation.

ODH informed Simmons they received a complaint via email on Aug. 21, 2022, the Troy, Ohio baby box is not installed on an exterior wall.

Safe Haven Board Chair Pam Stenzel told the Miami Valley Today the use of the baby box is a last resort and help for the mother is the first resort but that mothers for various reasons are sometimes unable to care for a newborn and the baby box provides a safe alternative for the child.

“We have followed all the regulations. We have operated baby boxes in seven state and I believe we have 121 baby boxes; all operate perfectly fine. We have had 12 babies surrendered and helped over 100 women across the country surrender their infants as a last resort,” Stenzel said.

The baby box is a climate-controlled infant crib, located inside the lobby of Troy’s new fire station. If a new mother finds herself in the situation of being unable to care for her newborn, the Safe Haven Baby Box is a safe and secure alternative to abandoning a child “on the street.”

Once a newborn is placed in the box, signals are sent to alert Troy Fire and Miami County 911 dispatchers so the infant can be immediately cared for. The process is completely confidential. The box is available 24/7.

The Ohio Department of Health refuses to speak with any of us, or the fire chief, any of us. We have called everyday since the middle of August. It’s a pretty sad day,” Stenzel. “All we want is a sit down at the table and talk to us. That’s all.”

Messages were left for Simmons for comment on the investigation. No further information is available at this time.