Foster Parent Bill Of Rights (1-10)

The following legislation was enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1997: An Act to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 37, Chapter 2, Part 4, relative to foster care and to enact the "Foster Parent Rights Act."

(a) To the extent not otherwise prohibited by state or federal statute, the department shall, through promulgation of rules in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, implement each of the following tenets. With respect to the placement of any foster child with a foster parent, which is contracted directly with the department of children's services, pursuant to this part:

(1) The department shall treat the foster parent(s) with dignity, respect, trust and consideration as a primary provider of foster care and a member of the professional team caring for foster children;

(2) The department shall provide the foster parent(s) with a clear explanation and understanding of the role of the department and the role of the members of the child's birth family in a child's foster care;

(3) The foster parent(s) shall be permitted to continue their own family values and routines;

(4) The foster parent(s) shall be provided training and support for the purpose of improving skills in providing daily care and meeting the special needs of the child in foster care;

(5) Prior to the placement of a child in foster care, the department shall inform the foster parent(s) of issues relative to the child that may jeopardize the health and safety of the foster family or alter the manner in which foster care should be administered;

(6) The department shall provide a means by which the foster parent(s) can contact the department twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week for the purpose of receiving departmental assistance;

(7) The department shall provide the foster parent(s) timely, adequate financial reimbursement for the quality and knowledgeable care of a child in foster care, as specified in the plan; provided, that the amount of such financial reimbursement shall, each year, be subject to and restricted by the level of funding specifically allocated for such purpose by the provisions of the general appropriations act;

(8) The department shall provide clear, written explanation of the plan concerning the placement of a child in the foster parent's home. For emergency placements where time does not allow prior preparation of such explanation, the department shall provide such explanation as it becomes available. This explanation shall include, but is not limited to, all information regarding the child's contact with such child's birth family and cultural heritage, if so outlined;

(9) Prior to placement, the department shall allow the foster parent(s) to review written information concerning the child and allow the foster parent(s) to assist in determining if such child would be a proper placement for the prospective foster family. For emergency placements where time does not allow prior review of such information, the department shall provide information as it becomes available;

(10) The department shall permit the foster parent(s) to refuse placement within their home, or to request, upon reasonable notice to the
department, the removal of a child from their home for good reason, without threat of reprisal, unless otherwise stipulated by contract or policy;