Baby box controversy; Man who filed complaint against Troy baby box speaks out

TROY — Concerns have been raised about a service at a Miami Valley firehouse meant to protect babies.

Monday night a Cincinnati man had no problem letting Troy City Council know his qualms with the fire department’s new baby box.

“My arguments are that we implement boxes and raise awareness on Safe Haven in Ohio, we need to be thoughtful about it, not just emotional about it,” Christopher Hicks said.

Hicks said he isn’t against baby boxes but thinks they should be at hospitals, not fire stations.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Troy Fire Department’s ‘baby box’ being investigated following citizen complaint

He doesn’t like that there are cameras by Troy’s or that it’s in a vestibule, not outside.

He pushed for more education for pregnant women, something another speaker pushed back against.

“In desperate times, people do desperate things... they’re not going to get educated in that desperate moment,” Chris Daum of Troy said.

Several speakers pushed for Troy’s baby box and against Hick’s message.

“What we have here is somebody that is to me, going around and stirring up trouble, and that to me is plain wrong,” Brad Boehringer of Staunton Township said.

During the meeting Hicks brought up Monica Kelsey, who was not in attendance.

Kelsey is the founder of the company Safe Have Baby Boxes.

“[Kelsey] has now monetized Safe Haven as a $10,000 a pop proposition,” Hicks said.

The $10,000, Kelsey told News Center 7′s Molly Koweek, goes toward multiple costs related to the boxes.

Such as the $5,800 cost of the box to the vendor, the box’s bassinette, the training for the firehouse, education awareness in schools and use of a hotline with a psychologist.

She said she is working on taking legal action against Hicks.

>> RELATED: Troy fire station to install safe haven ‘baby box’ that allows people to safely surrender babies

Troy’s fire chief said he is interested in finding common ground.

“On all sides there was a lot of great conversation, great movement,” Matthew Simmons, chief of Troy Fire Department said.

Now he is waiting to hear back from the Ohio Department of Health about its investigation into the box.

“We just want to know what we need to do,” Simmons said.

All while Hicks pushed for a re-evaluation of the city’s baby box.

“I think that all the communities that want to do the right thing here, raise Safe Haven awareness, have options available for women, should just step back and just figure out how do we do this the right way in Ohio,” Hicks said.

News Center 7 reached out to Miami County’s chief building official with the Department of Development.

One of the issues is Ohio law which states these baby boxes have to be on an exterior wall.

The official said it counts as an exterior wall because if you knock it down the building wound not stand.

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