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

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 37 Juveniles

Chapter 5 Department of Children's Services

Part 1 General Provisions

37-5-106. Powers of the department.

(a) The department has the following powers:

(1) Administer, develop or oversee programs, or any of these things including, but not limited to, state children's services agencies, except those operated by the department of mental health or the department of intellectual and developmental disabilities, assessment services, probation services, aftercare supervision services, child protective services and other services as required by law or as otherwise reasonably necessary for unruly, delinquent, dependent and neglected children, and their respective families, as well as children who are at imminent risk and in need of services to prevent entry into state custody, who are in state custody pending family reunification or other permanent placement, or as otherwise may be required for such children and their families pursuant to state law; provided, however, that such administration shall be consistent with and subject to licensing or approval authority of any other state agency that has responsibility for licensing or approval of any portion of program services or facilities provided by the department. Nothing herein shall preclude the service of at risk children by the department of mental health who are classified as seriously emotionally disturbed and for whom that department has primary responsibility;

(2) Provide services as required by law to children committed to its custody pursuant to the provisions of this title or title 33, 34 or 39, or provide services to children who are in need of services as required or permitted by law under the provisions of the Interstate Compact for Juveniles in chapter 4, part 1 of this title, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children in chapter 4, part 2 of this title, or who are committed to the department by any order of the courts as a result of a divorce or adoption or guardianship proceeding;

(3) (A) License or approve and supervise child care agencies, as defined in part 5 of this chapter, that are placed within the department's jurisdiction pursuant to law;

(B) License or approve and supervise all facilities that were previously operated by the department of youth development;

(C) License or approve and supervise any entity that provides services consistent with this chapter and the exceptions set forth therein;

(4) For the purposes of treatment, reunification and rehabilitation, allow delinquent children committed to the department's custody to make home visits to the natural parent(s), relatives or legal guardian. Such visits must be approved by the committing juvenile court, unless such court declines to exercise decision making in regard to home passes, in which case the commissioner has authority to grant passes without any further court approval or action;

(5) Receive and administer state funds appropriated for children being served by the department of children's services;

(6) Seek, apply for, receive and administer federal funds as well as any other grants or funds that can be used for children being served by the department of children's services;

(7) Administer the contractual obligations and functions and the funding arrangements for the department;

(8) Enter into contracts with the departments of human services, mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, education and health, with agencies of such departments, or any other department or agency of state government, with private individuals and corporations, and with associations, organizations or any other entities, governmental or otherwise, for services that the department of children's services may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this title. Such services may include, but are not limited to, health, psychological, social, education, transportation, program evaluation, placement, detention, prevention, assessment and case management;

(9) Develop and maintain a system for the purpose of handling, coordinating, processing and disseminating the information generated by the department's activities and services;

(10) Provide appropriate training, either through the department or by contract, to individuals within the department and may provide training to those entities delivering services for the department of children's services. All child protective services workers must be trained in their legal duties to protect the constitutional and statutory rights of children and families from the initial time of contact, during the investigation, and through the treatment;

(11) Provide for all adoption services responsibilities as it may be required to perform pursuant to title 36, chapter 1, part 1, and for the operation of the putative father registry pursuant to § 36-2-318;

(12) Administer the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Program established pursuant to the Social Security Act in 42 U.S.C. § 670, et seq., or any successor entitlements;

(13) Establish rules and regulations concerning the provision of financial assistance to persons who adopt a child who has special needs, is difficult to place because of a disability or other serious impediments to adoption;

(14) Administer the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance pursuant to title 36, chapter 1, part 2;

(15) (A) Establish, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, rules and regulations for charging fees for the department's preparation and presentation, for any purpose, of social reports of homes or the parent or parents or other persons, when ordered by the courts unless:

(i) The order is based upon a finding that the child or children who are the subjects of the order are victims of abuse or neglect;

(ii) The order is based upon a finding that the child or children who are the subjects of the order have been alleged in the proceedings to be victims of abuse or neglect; or

(iii) The department has received a report of harm pursuant to § 37-1-403 or § 37-1-605, concerning the child or children who are the subjects of the order. The department may, for purposes of this section, disclose such fact to the court;

(B) Provide by rule or regulation that the parent or parents of the child or children or any person or persons legally responsible for the child or children or any other party to the case, as the court may determine, shall be assessed the costs of the social report. The costs shall not exceed the department's cost to provide the service;

(C) Provide by rule for waiver of costs for any person or persons who are indigent, as determined by the department;

(D) Costs of such reports shall be reported by the department to the court and such costs shall be assessed by the court as court costs, as determined by the court, against the parent or parents or other parties or person legally responsible for the child or children and such costs shall be enforced accordingly by the court;

(E) Such costs shall be paid by the court clerk to the department, and the funds received by the department shall be deposited to the state treasury pursuant to § 9-4-301;

(16) Establish by policy, rule or regulation appropriate and necessary guidelines for consent to health care treatment for children in state custody or who are being served by the department;

(17) The department may acquire, hold or alienate property or leaseholds necessary or desirable for the performance of any of its functions that are vested in it by law;

(18) (A) The department is specifically authorized to establish any programs for the use of volunteers who may be able to provide assistance to the department in any of the services that are vested in it by law or that it may provide as a necessary part of such services. To the extent funds are available, and if necessary and desirable, the department may reimburse such volunteers for actual travel or other reasonable expenses for their services. All reimbursement for travel expenses shall be in accordance with the provisions of the comprehensive travel regulations as promulgated by the department of finance and administration and approved by the attorney general and reporter. Meals may be furnished without charge at department facilities if the scheduled volunteer assignment extends over an established meal period. The department may use any funds available, including federal, state or local funds or private donations, that it has for any expenses associated with these programs;

(B) Any volunteers who are registered by the department with the board of claims shall be accorded the same protections, legal representation authorization and immunities as state employees pursuant to title 8, chapter 42, and § 9-8-307 for civil or criminal actions brought against them within the scope and course of their activities in such volunteer programs; provided, however, that they shall not be covered by workers' compensation pursuant to § 9-8-307; and

(C) Volunteers may use state vehicles when their assignments so require, subject to the approval of the department and in compliance with any policies or rules or regulations that may be promulgated by the department;

(19) Administer and fully implement the multi-level response system for children and families, compiled in part 6 of this chapter, including making such contracts as may be necessary to carry out the evaluations called for in that part;

(20) Review the status of any person who has reached eighteen (18) years of age who was in the legal custody of the department and whose last commitment was based on an adjudication of dependent and neglected, unruly or in need of services pursuant to § 37-1-175, to determine if the person should receive services from the department in order to complete high school or other educational training or for the purpose of receiving other services. The department may provide services to the person who chooses to receive services from the department on a voluntary basis, subject to funding availability, budgetary constraints and compliance with department policy; and

(21) Review the status of any person who has reached nineteen (19) years of age who was in the legal custody of the department and whose last commitment was based on an adjudication of delinquency to determine if the person should receive services from the department in order to complete high school or other educational training or for the purpose of receiving other services. The department may continue to provide services to the person who chooses to receive services from the department on a voluntary basis, subject to funding availability, budgetary constraints and compliance with department policy.

(b) The attorney general and reporter shall, upon request, advise the department on matters of law.

Acts 1996, ch. 1079, § 7; 2000, ch. 947, § 6; 2000, ch. 981, §§ 51, 60; 2003, ch. 355, § 24; 2004, ch. 740, § 1; 2005, ch. 391, § 12; 2008, ch. 906, § 4; 2010, ch. 1100, §§ 60, 61; 2011, ch. 47, § 29.

Compiler's Notes. Acts 2003, ch. 355, § 66 provided that no expenditure of public funds pursuant to the act shall be made in violation of the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as codified in 42 U.S.C. § 2000d.

Acts 2010, ch. 1100, § 153 provided that the commissioner of mental health and developmental disabilities, the commissioner of mental health, the commissioner of intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the commissioner of finance and administration are authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of the act. All such rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5.

Acts 2011, ch. 47, § 107 provided that nothing in the legislation shall be construed to alter or otherwise affect the eligibility for services or the rights or responsibilities of individuals covered by the provision on the day before July 1, 2011.

Acts 2011, ch. 47, § 108 provided that the provisions of the act are declared to be remedial in nature and all provisions of the act shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purposes.

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