Policies in Tennessee

Tennessee Child and Family Team Meeting Protocol

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) works to ensure that foster parents can attend Child and Family Team Meetings (CFTMs). First, foster parents are able participate in the CFTMs in person or by phone, which helps working parents or parents with other children to stay involved. DCS also has a detailed CFTM protocol that clarifies roles, decisions to be made, and explicitly gives any member of the team, including foster parents, the right to call a CFTM. Foster parents, in particular, can call a CFTM when they feel like they need additional help and/or don’t have all the information they need in order to care for the child placed in their home. If at any time foster parents feel as though they need support in a CFTM, they can request a foster parent advocate to attend the meeting with them.

See the playbook for more information.

Tennessee Advocacy and Mentoring Program

The Tennessee Advocacy and Mentorship Program is designed to support foster parents in times of crisis or special needs. Advocates are experienced foster parents who receive training to provide assistance, support and representation in grievances and appeals with DCS. The Tennessee Foster Parent Bill of Rights established in law that any foster parent under investigation has the right to be represented by an Advocate. Advocates support the foster parent through the process while promoting the safety and well-being of the child above all else. Each of the twelve DCS regions has an assigned advocate.

See the playbook for more information.

Tennessee Kinship Firewall policy

Tennessee has a kinship exception request protocol, which requires management-level approval for any non-kin placement when, after a diligent search, relatives who meet agency standards cannot be located or are unavailable. Connecticut and Denver County, Colorado have similar policies. Connecticut requires its kinship specialists to use a checklist to ensure that caseworkers have made very attempt to locate maternal and paternal relatives.

See playbook for more information.