The following questions and answers provided by the Shelby County Sheriff's office explain the Safe Haven process, as well as rules and requirements. For additional information or to find a Safe Haven location, call the confidential Safe Haven Hotline at (877) 768-3473.
- What are Safe Havens?
Safe Havens are facilities (hospitals, emergency medical clinics, and walk-in clinics) that by Tennessee state law will accept unwanted newborns.
- What is considered a newborn?
A baby less than 72 hours old or less.
- What happens when I bring my newborn baby to a Safe Haven?
When you have voluntarily given your baby to a health care worker, the baby will be examined and admitted. You may be asked to give a medical history for the benefit of the newborn but this is not required. Once the baby is given medical clearance, he/she will be released from the hospital into the care of the Department of Children’s Services.
- Can someone else bring my baby for me?
No. You must bring your baby to a Safe Haven so that health care workers will know that this was your decision and that the baby was not kidnapped or you were not pressured to give up your baby.
- Will someone know if I call the hotline?
No. All calls to the Shelby County Safe Haven Hotline are completely confidential and are not recorded or traced by caller id.
- Will someone find out I have left my baby at a Safe Haven?
No one will know that you have brought your baby to a Safe Haven.
- What will happen to me?
If the baby is unharmed, you are free to leave and no one will know.
- What happens if I change my mind and want to reclaim my baby?
You have parental rights to reclaim your child. You may contact the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to inquire about this process. It is best to do so within 30 days of surrendering your child. You may be given an informational packet or some identification materials at some locations that will expedite this process. It will be best for you to be able to tell DCS when and where you surrendered your child.