Iowa community looking to get the state’s first Safe Haven Baby Box

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 3:30 PM CDT
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FORT DODGE, Iowa (KCCI) - Community members in a central Iowa town are looking to bring an alternative solution for people who don’t want their baby.

“We had an unfortunate situation where a couple ended up having a baby that was not wanted,” said Kuhlman.

Taylor Blaha and Brandon Thoma are the Fort Dodge couple. They are accused of murdering their newborn baby last fall.

“We still have never found the body,” stated Kuhlman.

A situation Fort Dodge United Way CEO Randy Kuhlman and others don’t want to experience again. Which is where a Safe Haven Baby Box would come in.

“It just provides complete anonymity for a mother that’s wanting to give up their child,” said Kuhlman.

Safe Haven Boxes are made by an Indiana company. The goal of them is to prevent people from illegally abandoning a baby. They’re placed in spaces where someone is around 24/7, like a fire department. Which is where people in Fort Dodge hope to put the box.

“It’s right with our core mission of saving lives and helping people when they’re, you know when someone really needs help,” said Steve Hergenreter, Fort Dodge’s fire chief.

If the box does come to Fort Dodge, it would have something inside to alert the team.

“When someone does place an infant in there and closes the door it sets the sensor, sends off a message to our dispatchers who are here at the fire station,” stated Chief Hergenreter.

And from there they would take the baby to the hospital and surrender them to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. All of this would be done safely and legally.

“I think when a mother gives up a child like that, it’s one of the greatest acts of love that she can do,” said Kuhlman.