Sheriff's deputies work to increase awareness about "Safe Haven" program - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Sheriff's deputies work to increase awareness about "Safe Haven" program

For five years, Tennessee has allowed parents who have an unwanted newborn an alternative: drop it off within three days with no questions asked at a hospital or another designated "safe haven".

But the law didn't work for the abandoned baby found dead Friday morning in the driveway of a North Shelby County home.

The mother, 20 year old Sierra Williams told investigators she panicked.

Neighbor Anna Harwell says, "I hate it and everything and I feel real bad about it."

Harwell continues, "It's a tragedy for the community and it's devastating."

Now the Shelby County Sheriff's Department is working to spread the word about the Safe Haven program, with plans for new billboards, brochures and signs that will be placed in area hospitals, clinics and pregnancy crisis centers.

Kim Hackney with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department says, "...And she doesn't have to fear prosecution and she can remain anonymous if she wants to."

Harwell continues, "It's just better all around for the mother who's in crisis and for the child, it's saves a life."

The Safe Haven law couldn't save Sierra Williams' baby, but officials hope with added publicity, it will save others.

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