INDIANAPOLIS — The founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes is making startling claims against the Indiana Department of Child Services.
In all, 19 babies have been surrendered in the boxes across six states. In some rare cases, the biological parent who surrendered the child changes their mind.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder Monica Kelsey said it doesn't happen very often, but when it happened recently, she shared the story on TikTok.
"What if I told you the Department of Child Services here in Indiana is moving forward with reunification without doing a DNA test. No one's seen this parent place this child in our electronic monitoring baby box. No one knows who the parent is," Kelsey said in her online video post.
Kelsey continued to say the baby that was surrendered tested positive for drugs and claims DCS did not drug test the alleged parents.
13News reached out to DCS, which shared the following statement:
"A social media post has raised questions regarding the steps the Indiana Department of Child Services takes after a baby is surrendered under the Indiana Safe Haven law.
It is common for children to come into DCS care without the identity of one or both parents being immediately known. DCS would never, under any circumstance, send a child home with someone claiming to be their parent without first confirming with certainty that person’s relationship to the child. This may include genetic testing, along with many other steps to ensure safe reunification if it is in the best interest of the child. If an individual comes forward claiming parentage, DCS works hand in hand with the juvenile court to determine whether the child was surrendered with the knowing consent of both parents.
Information regarding Safe Haven surrenders is sealed under Indiana law as part of confidential juvenile records, and, with few statutory exceptions, only parties to the case are privy to those details."
Kelsey later posted a video on TikTok sharing DCS' response to her claims.
NOTE: The above script has been updated to reflect 19 babies have been surrendered, not 119.