In October 2000, a newborn baby girl was found in a shed in Townsend, Tennessee. Her 14-year-old mother had concealed her pregnancy and given birth to the baby alone in her home. In order to hide the pregnancy and the birth, she abandoned the baby in a neighbor's shed. The baby died of severe dehydration and the teen was later charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to state custody.
In July 2001, Tennessee’s Safe Haven Law was passed, providing a safe and legal alternative to a woman who might otherwise abandon her newborn. The law allows a mother to anonymously surrender her unharmed newborn of 3 days old or less to staff at any hospital, birthing center, community health clinic (health department), walk-in clinic, EMS facility, or 24-hour staffed fire or police station in Tennessee. She is not required to answer any questions or give any information.
A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee is a statewide organization dedicated to preventing newborn abandonment by raising awareness of the Safe Haven Law. We educate women with a 24-hour confidential Helpline (1-866-699-SAFE), printed materials, social media, a website (www.secretsafeplacetn.org), school and community education programs, and many forms of advertising. We also provide training and resources for safe haven facilities.
More than 106 newborns have been safely surrendered in Tennessee under the safe haven law. Please help us continue to keep babies safe.
To learn more, please go to www.secretsafeplacetn.org and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_CgUDdxYv4.
Anyone in crisis can call 1-866-699-SAFE (7233).