This morning, Sheriff Mark Luttrell and District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced a new initiative giving new mothers a place to drop off unwanted newborn babies. The Safe Haven Awareness Initiative is based on a state law making it legal for women to drop off infants less than 72 hours old at a medical facility or any facility with a medical component, such as a police substation or fire station.
Though the laws been in effect for five years, theres been no effort to make women aware of the law in the Shelby County. Last year, 13 infants were discovered abandoned in unsafe places, according to Luttrell.
As a result, the sheriff and the D.A.s office have launched this educational campaign to let mothers know they can protect their anonymity and not face prosecution if they leave children at a medical facility.
Under the new initiative, new mothers can call a hotline (877-768-3473), and someone from the countys rural/metro ambulance service will give instructions on where to take the baby. Theyll even give the mother a free ride.