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TENNESSEE COMPILATION OF SELECTED LAWS ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, 2011 EDITION

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 36 Domestic Relations

Chapter 1 Adoption

Part 1 General Provisions

36-1-142. Voluntary delivery of infant to facility, revocation of voluntary delivery, and termination of parental rights.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and without complying with the surrender provisions of this part, any facility, as defined by § 68-11-255, shall receive possession of an infant aged seventy-two (72) hours or younger upon the voluntary delivery of the infant by the infant's mother, pursuant to § 68-11-255.

(b) The facility, any facility employee or any member of the professional medical community at such facility shall notify the department of children's services as soon as reasonably possible and no later than twenty-four (24) hours after taking possession of an infant under this section. The department or the department's authorized designee shall immediately assume the care, custody and control of such infant and shall petition the appropriate court for legal custody of such child.

(c) Voluntary delivery of an infant pursuant to § 68-11-255 and failure of the mother voluntarily delivering such child to visit or seek contact with such infant for a period of thirty (30) days after the date of delivery, and failure to seek contact with the infant through the department or to revoke the voluntary delivery within thirty (30) days after notice was completed pursuant to this section, which shall cumulatively be no less than ninety (90) days from the date such child was voluntarily delivered to such facility, shall be a basis for termination of parental rights pursuant to this part.

(d) (1) A mother who voluntarily delivers an infant pursuant to § 68-11-255 may revoke such voluntary delivery by applying to a court that is qualified to receive a surrender pursuant to § 36-1-111 no later than thirty (30) days after notice was completed under subsection (e).

(2) After such thirty (30) days, no voluntary delivery pursuant to § 68-11-255 shall be set aside except upon clear and convincing evidence of duress, fraud or intentional misrepresentation.

(e) (1) Within ten (10) days of receipt of an infant under this section, the department shall give notice once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks in a newspaper or other publication of general circulation in the county in which such voluntary delivery occurred. The department shall also give such notice in any other county for which there are any facts known to the department that reasonably indicate the infant's mother or father may be so located. The notice shall include information to provide an opportunity for the putative father to claim paternity and for the mother to revoke voluntary delivery. Such notice shall describe the infant, identify where and when voluntary delivery occurred, specify how and who to contact for follow up and provide any other relevant information.

(2) The notice shall specify that failure to seek contact with the infant through the department or to revoke the voluntary delivery within thirty (30) days of the date of the last publication of notice shall constitute abandonment of the infant and of the mother's interest.

(3) The notice shall specify that any father of such infant who fails to claim paternity by contacting the department or registering with the putative father registry pursuant to § 36-2-318 within thirty (30) days of the last publication shall be barred from thereafter bringing or maintaining any action to establish paternity of the infant. It shall also specify that such failure shall constitute abandonment of any right to notice of, or to a hearing in, any judicial proceeding for the adoption of such infant and that consent of such putative father shall not be required for adoption of the infant.

(f) The department shall designate one (1) or more persons to serve as a contact in the event the mother requires additional information, including but not limited to the legal effect of voluntary delivery of the infant, revocation of voluntary delivery, availability of relevant social services and follow-up inquiries once the mother has left the facility. The department shall provide all facilities designated to receive infants under this section with the name, phone number and other necessary information regarding such contact person.

Acts 2001, ch. 388, § 2.

Compiler's Notes. Acts 2001, ch. 388, § 8 provided that the departments of children's services and health are authorized to promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, as necessary to effectuate the provisions of this section.

Acts 2001, ch. 388, § 9 provided that the department of health, in conjunction with the department of children's services, shall encourage and support, to the extent of existing resources, community programs to raise public awareness of the incidence of infant abandonment and to provide information and intervention services for parents of unwanted infants.

Acts 2001, ch. 388, § 11 provided that nothing in the act shall be construed to be an appropriation of funds and no funds shall be obligated or expended pursuant to the act unless such funds are specifically appropriated by the General Appropriations Act.

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