The first in Iowa “Safe Haven Baby Box” was opened today, October 12, 2023, in Fort Dodge, Iowa! Members of your Lutheran Family Service team were there, including Emily Rasch, pregnancy counseling/adoption worker for Lutheran Family Service’s Many Hearts Unplanned Pregnancy Support.

Through a new law in Iowa, mothers delivering a newborn baby who wish to anonymously relinquish him or her to be raised by parents through adoption now have the option of doing so safely through the Safe Haven Baby Box installed at the Fort Dodge Fire Department – available 24/7 – or by bringing their baby during normal office hours to organizations such as Lutheran Family Service. A new sign in our office windows throughout Iowa designate Lutheran Family Service as Safe Haven locations.

The Baby Box

A Baby Box is a safety device provided for under Iowa’s Safe Haven Law and legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender if she is unable to care for her newborn. A Baby Box is installed in an exterior wall of a designated fire station or hospital. It has an exterior door that automatically locks upon placement of a newborn inside the Baby Box, and an interior door which allows a medical staff member to secure the surrendered newborn from inside the designated building.

The plan to place the new baby box at the Fort Dodge Fire Department was developed over the past 10 months through partnerships of like-minded professionals, faith leaders, and legislators in the community. The inventor of the “Safe Haven Baby Box”, Monica Kelsey from Indiana was present for today’s dedication. Fort Dodge’s Safe Haven Baby Box is the 171st installation of such a system in the United States and the first one in Iowa. The next closest one is in St. Louis. Monica reported to the large crowd gathered for today’s dedication that boxes currently available, one baby is placed into a box anonymously every 10 days. She also reminded us that a newborn is killed or abandoned and left to die in an unsafe location somewhere in the USA every three days.

Providing a Safe Haven

Learn more about the “Safe Haven Baby Box”, see how it works, and hear the interesting back story of its founder, Monica Kelsey, who was conceived as a result of rape yet not aborted but abandoned as a newborn and given a chance at life, here: She has made it her personal mission to educate others on the Safe Haven Law and to do whatever it takes to save the lives of innocent babies from being abandoned.

Lutheran Family Service – along with our many partners including you who care about newborn infants in need of forever loving Christian homes and the mothers who have carried them to life – is happy to be recognized as a “Safe Haven” location in Iowa. We’re also happy to provide care, support, and counseling to these young mothers at no cost throughout the year anywhere in Iowa, South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, and western Illinois with your partnership. On behalf of the many moms and infants we serve every day…thank you!

If you know of a mother struggling with decisions about parenting a newborn, invite her to connect with one of the pregnancy counseling workers at Lutheran Family Service by texting the word “love” to the number 844-764-2029, calling 515-571-9964, or filling out the webform at

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