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."
(22) The department shall permit the foster parent(s) a period of respite, free from placement of foster children in the family's home with follow-up contacts by the agency occurring a minimum of every two (2) months. The foster parent(s) shall provide reasonable notice, to be determined in the promulgation of rules, to the department for respite;
(23) (Effective February 1, 1998) Child abuse/neglect investigations involving the foster parent(s) shall be investigated pursuant to the department's child protective services policy and procedures. A child protective services case manager from another area shall be assigned investigative responsibility. Removal of a foster child will be conducted pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated and departmental policy and procedures. The department shall permit an individual selected by the membership of the Tennessee Foster Care Association to be educated concerning the procedures relevant to investigations of alleged abuse and neglect by the department and the rights of the accused foster parent(s). Upon receiving such training, such individual shall be permitted to serve as advocate for the accused foster parent(s). Such advocate shall be permitted to be present at all portions of investigations where the accused foster parent(s) are present; and all communication received by such advocate therein shall be strictly confidential. Nothing contained within this item shall be construed to abrogate the provisions of chapter 1 of this title, regarding procedures for investigations of child abuse and neglect and child sexual abuse by the department of children's services and law enforcement agencies;
(24) Upon request, the department shall provide the foster parent(s) copies of all information relative to their family and services contained in the personal foster home record;
(25) The department shall advise the foster parent(s) of mediation efforts through publication in departmental policy manuals and the Foster Parent Handbook. The foster parent(s) may file for mediation efforts in response to any violations of the preceding tenets.
(b) In promulgation of rules pursuant to subsection (a), the department shall provide forty-five (45) days written notification of public hearings, held pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in Title 4, chapter 5, to the president of the Tennessee Foster Care Association and the president's designee. (Acts 1997, Ch. 549, &&2,3.)