Christian Academy of Knoxville senior Carson Welch spent her summer making baby blankets that will swaddle newborns who have been surrendered in Knox County.
Welch recently donated two—a pink and blue blanket—to the UT Police Department.
UTPD is one of 45 facilities in Knox County that is designated as a Secret Safe Place, a location where a mother may surrender an unharmed newborn within two weeks of birth without fear of being prosecuted and can be assured of confidentiality.
The state of Tennessee has revised the Safe Haven Law and increased the timeframe from 72 hours to 14 days within which a mother may surrender custody of her baby. The child is placed in the care of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and eventually goes to an adoptive home.
Welch created 90 blankets, two for each Knox County location, and delivered them with the help of board members from A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee. The nonprofit supports facilities where mothers surrender their babies, operates a 24-hour helpline to answer questions, and educates young women across the state about this legal alternative to infant abandonment.
Welch chose the nonprofit for her senior capstone project.
“Our job is to educate the community about the Safe Haven Law and ensure all the facilities are up to date about their information and the law,” said board member Jennifer Campbell.