First Newborn Surrendered to Florida’s Only Safe Haven Baby Box

Perhaps you’ve heard about a Safe Haven Baby Box. If not, it’s a pretty simple concept. They’re installed outside of hospitals and firehouses in which parents can safely and anonymously drop off their babies if they’re unable to care for them. 


Founding a Nationwide Mission

Monica Kelsey is the founder of the mission. She began the project in 2016 and there are now more than 120 baby boxes across the nation, available 24/7. Furthermore, the Safe Haven Baby Box organization has a 24-hour hotline to offer advice and support to parents in crisis. Florida’s first and only Safe Haven Baby Box was installed in 2020. Fortunately, it hasn’t been needed until now.


Safe Haven Baby Box Saves a Life

Ocala Fire Rescue announced in a Jan. 5 press release “the arrival of the department’s first surrendered newborn.” In brief, Ocala is around 80 miles from Orlando, best known for its theme parks. As of now the baby’s gender hasn’t been revealed but we do know the baby got the care it needs, and all seems to be falling into place for the unidentified baby. According to Fire Chief Clint Welborn the baby was safely recovered and sent to the hospital.


Explaining the Safe Haven Baby Box

The first baby was surrendered in 2017 and this is the 23rd baby to be safely and legally surrendered to a Safe Haven Baby Box. Furthermore, she explained the process of how the boxes work. When a baby is placed in the box, it sends an automatic and immediate notification to the fire department or hospital. The baby can, then, be retrieved to get the medical care it may need.


Supporting the Parents Anonymously

Because the Safe Haven Baby Box is anonymous, no one knows who the parents are. Kelsey namelessly communicated with them in the press release stating, “The first thing that we want is we want to address the parents who legally surrendered this infant. And right now, I’m going to talk directly to her or him. Thank you.”

Likewise, she encouraged the anonymous parents, continuing, “Thank you for keeping your child safe. Thank you for bringing your child to a place that you knew was going to take care of this child. And thank you for doing what you felt was best. I’m sure this was not an easy option choose, but I want you to know that we’re honoring you today because I hope you find peace in knowing that your child is safe, your child is healthy, and your child will be placed with a set of adoptive parents, if it hasn’t already.”

Getting Involved

In a previous article we discussed a family from Indiana who’d just finalized the adoption of their new baby. A baby that had been surrendered to one of these boxes. Moreover, we discuss the 8 ways in which you can help the Safe Haven Baby Box mission. Check it out if you want more information on how you can contribute to the cause.


  1. First newborn surrendered to Florida’s only Safe Haven Baby Box.” TODAY. Liz Calvario. January 6, 2023.