Children

Agencies Take on Misleading Advertising by Unlicensed Caregivers

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS), Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery and the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) are collaborating to address misleading advertising by unlicensed child care operations, the Cleveland Daily Banner reports. These providers can use websites to peddle services — sometimes deceptively describing an operation as licensed — with the onus on the parents to determine whether the provider is in fact legit. After an industry-wide investigation by TDHS, DCA and the AG's office, it was ascertained that the current model for care referral websites is inadequate and the agencies have asked one major player, Care.com, to assist in vetting providers. Regarding the move, Slatery said “We have reached out to Care.com, Inc., to seek their help addressing the growing problem of child injuries and fatalities at child care facilities that falsely claim to be state licensed … Care.com has responded with a willingness to work with us to confront this issue.”  

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Tennessee Lawmakers Increase Annual Funding for Voluntary Home Visit Program

The General Assembly on Tuesday added an additional $1 million in annual funding for voluntary home visiting programs, the Lebanon Democrat reports. The program provides trained volunteers to assist parents with young children and offer them guidance to promote early childhood development. Proponents of the program include Save the Children Action Network, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, Children’s Hospital Alliance of Tennessee, Tennesseans for Quality Early Childhood Education and the Nurse-Family Partnership, among others. 

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More Than 1,400 Metro Nashville Public School Employees Call Out Sick to Protest Budget

More than 1,400 Metro Nashville Public School employees — including 1,091 teachers — called out sick today in protest of the 3 percent pay raise suggested by Mayor David Briley in his budget, saying that it’s simply not enough, The Tennessean reports. The action comes in response to Briley’s proposed $28.2 million increase in Nashville public schools' operating budget, far less than the requested $76.7 million. Most of the money asked for was to be earmarked for teacher raises. President-elect for the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association Amanda Kail said of the protest, "You have to understand that teachers haven't had a cost-of-living or a significant raise, depending on how you define significant, in 10 to 15 years … People are getting pretty fed up."

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General Assembly Passes Bill for Stiffer Penalties When Children are Harmed in Drive-By Shootings

The General Assembly this week passed a law that will provide stiffer penalties when children are harmed in drive-by shootings, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The JuJuan Latham Act — HB0002, SB0010 — is named for a 12-year-old Knoxville boy who was killed in the crossfire of a gang-related attack while attending a birthday party in 2016. The shooting also claimed the life of an unborn child when the mother fell trying to escape the situation. To date, no one has been charged for either crime.

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New Study Features Data on Foster Child Placement

The Annie E. Casey Foundation — a private philanthropy that assists children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes — recently published an assessment on trends in U.S. foster care placement. The study highlights disparities among placements for African American and older children, placement data among different institutions and offers insight on how states can improve services. The examination also shows Tennessee as one in only three states or territories that saw a decline in placement, with numbers down two percent between 2007 and 2017, as compared to an average five percent increase nationally. You can view the complete article here.

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Tennessee House Advances Religious Exemption Bill Regarding Adoptions

The Tennessee House on Monday advanced legislation that that would allow adoption agency denial of service to same-sex couples based on religious objections by a 67–22 vote, with three abstentions. HB0836/SB1304 amends TCA Title 36, Chapter 1, Part 1 to prohibit the requirement that those agencies “perform, assist, consent to, refer, or participate in any child placement for foster care or adoption that would violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions.” The companion Senate bill was reset for hearing yesterday by the Senate Judiciary Committee to its final calendar date.

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Knox News Story Draws Attention to Unlicensed Caregivers

A website that parents can use to find caregivers for their children has instituted a formal vetting process following stories of three children who died under supervision in unlicensed daycares, The Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The website, Care.com, became the center of an investigation by the paper when it discovered that unlicensed providers were using the site to solicit business. Knox News compiled a list of 52 caregivers from the site. DHS verified that only 22 had valid licenses. Going forward, Care.com says it will screen its clients using criminal databases and the national sex offender registry.

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House Passes Bill Making Aggravated Rape of Child Punishable by Life Imprisonment

Legislation that seeks to increase the punishment for a conviction of aggravated rape of a child, amending TCA Title 39, Chapter 13 and Title 40, Chapter 35, easily passed in the Tennessee House with only one vote in opposition. HB0283/SB0290 would increase the penalty for such a crime from 15 to 60 years in prison to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The legislation was recommended for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.

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Tomorrow: Family Law Forum 2019

Register now for the TBA Family Law Forum 2019. In this program, we will dig deep into recent changes affecting the practice area, including high-profile cases, legislative updates, changes in domestic violence law and best practices in Juvenile Court. We will also have a renowned psychiatrist discussing "The Scientific Basis for Parental Alienation." Don’t miss this opportunity to brush up on the intangibles, develop new tools and meet lawyers of a similar focus. Here are the key details:

When: Wednesday, May 15, Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville
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U.S. Senate Democrats Support Increase, Changes to Child Tax Credits

U.S. Senate Democrats are rallying around a bill that intends to make strides in tackling child poverty, Vox.com reports. Initially introduced in 2017, the American Family Act would expand the child tax credit to $3,000 per year for income-qualifying families with a child ages six to 16, and $3,600 per year for families with a child aged from zero to five. The benefits would be distributed monthly, in advance, to help the families with budgeting concerns.

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