In order for the mother to safely surrender their child, the child must be within 14 days in age. Following 14 days, the Safe Haven law is no longer available and a separate service, such as adoption, will need to be pursued. Next, the mother needs to find an approved Safe Haven Facility to safely leave the baby with emergency medical services personnel.
Under Tennessee Law, the following classify as a Safe Haven Facility:
Community Health Clinics(health departments)
Outpatient, Walk-In Clinics
Emergency Medical Service Facilities (EMS)
Fire Stations (only those staffed 24 hours)
Police Stations (only those staffed 24 hours)
The majority of these locations have a Safe Haven Facility sign posted for public visibility.
As long as the child has no signs of physical abuse, the child is taken with no questions asked. A mother may provide important information for the child's well being, such as family medical history, child medical history, allergies, etc. which is completely confidential. However, it is not required.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU DECIDED TO SURRENDER YOUR CHILD UNDER THE SAFE HAVEN LAW?
If you are a mother of a newborn who has decided to make this decision, here is a checklist. This check list does not include emotional preparation or reaching out to available resources prior to making this decision. It is meant to provide a specific list for using Tennessee's Safe Haven Law.
Make sure that the baby is within the 14 days age limit.
Choose a Safe Haven Facility.
Go to the Safe Haven Facility to surrender.
Speak to an safe member at the Safe Haven Facility and tell them that you want to surrender your newborn under the Safe Haven Law.
The decision to relinquish custody of a child can be difficult. In order to better understand the process or to discuss this decision with another person, contact the 24/7 confidential Safe Haven Hotline at 1-866-699-SAFE.