Bill That Will Terminate Tennessee Parents Rights After “Substantial Non-Compliance” Passes Senate Judiciary With Amendments

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –

A bill that proposes the ability for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to terminate parental rights within 10 business days after a court has found the parents of the child/children to be “substantially non-compliant,”  has passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee with amendments added. 

The original text of HB1808/SB2660 reads, “Children’s Services, Dept. of – As introduced, requires the department to file a petition for termination of parental rights within 10 business days if there has been substantial noncompliance by a parent or guardian with the statement of responsibilities in a permanency plan over a period of six months. – Amends TCA Title 36 and Title 37.”

The bill is being carried in the House by Representative Ed Butler (R-Rickman-District 41) and Senator Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro-District 13).

The amendment to the bill will extend the number of days from 10 business days to 90 calendar days following a juvenile court’s finding that the guardian or parent of the child has been “substantially non-compliant” with regard to the child’s permanency plan. 

A permanency plan includes a statement of responsibility and actions or tasks that must be completed by the parent(s) in order for them to regain custody of their child(ren). Parents may be required to attend parenting classes or seek counseling as part of this plan.

Permanency plans are often construed by courts and child advocacy agencies as an admission of guilt. So, any parent who may have been falsely accused of acts that compel DCS to become involved with the family, will have a very difficult time exonerating themselves from wrongdoing if they agree to and sign these plans. 

This is an issue due to the fact that last session, Governor Lee signed a bill into law that could criminalize parents based entirely on anonymous allegations. 

Another troubling aspect of the language of the bill, is that there is no clear definition included for what “substantially non-compliant” means. 

A social media post from Tennessee Valley Advocates For Freedom read, “Based on my read, current law requires almost 2 years of time to pass where the parents can make their case. In section (h)(1)(G), six months is mentioned in relation to the parents not making progress in ‘obtaining custody’. 

The post continued, “This is accelerating taking kids instead of trying to return them to their parents. Yes, there are cases where termination of parental rights is the only choice. But there are far too many cases where CPS is way out of line.”

The legislature’s website records the vote as follows:

Republican Senators voting in the affirmative for the bill’s passage include Todd Gardenhire, Jon Lundberg, Kerry Roberts, Paul Rose, John Stevens, Brent Taylor and Dawn White. Two Democrats were recorded as voting ‘No’ – Sara Kyle and London Lamar.

SB2660 will now move to the Senate Calendar Committee to be scheduled for hearing on the Senate floor.

The House version of the bill (HB1808) is scheduled to be heard in the Children & Family Affairs Subcommittee on February 27th.

About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member.  Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at

2 thoughts on “Bill That Will Terminate Tennessee Parents Rights After “Substantial Non-Compliance” Passes Senate Judiciary With Amendments

  • February 22, 2024 at 8:07 pm

    More political bull offal. We’ve got “Judges” who decide that parents should be jailed for homeschooling their children, unqualified Children Services people, no place to safely put children deemed at risk, and now the Government criminalizes parents based totally on anonymous complaints and a very broad definition of what “substantial non-compliance means. Now tell me, what could go wrong?

  • February 22, 2024 at 9:50 pm

    Making TN a worse state for families..


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