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General Assembly approves Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Parent Protection Act 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Legislation sponsored by State Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, aimed at protecting foster parents’ religious and moral beliefs while ensuring the best interest of the child passed in both chambers of the General Assembly this week.

House Bill 2169 enacts the Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Parent Protection Act, which prohibits the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) from requiring a current or prospective adoptive foster parent to affirm, accept or support any government policy regarding sexual orientation or gender identity that conflicts with the parent’s sincerely held religious or moral beliefs.

“Every child deserves a home where their health and well-being are supported in a positive way. Forcing a foster parent to affirm the idea that a child – who is already vulnerable and in distress – was born in the wrong body or is flawed is extremely harmful and misguided,” Littleton said. “My hope is that this bill increases successful placements and lowers re-placements within the DCS system.”

The Tennessee Foster Parent Protection Act also ensures DCS could not deny a parent’s eligibility to foster or adopt based in whole, or in part, upon the parent’s religious or moral beliefs.

This bill is consistent with current DCS policy guidelines, and continues to ensure the best interest of the child when considering placement of LGBTQ+ youth.

“Tennessee should encourage as many qualified people as possible to foster and adopt. Imposing ideological litmus tests as other states have done, is unjust to those parents, and needlessly limits the pool of available families, and is the exact opposite of what kids in the foster system need,” Littleton said.

Currently, there are thousands of children in Tennessee who need a loving home. If citizens are interested in becoming a DCS foster parent, they can visit the TNFosters website or call 877-327-5437.

Now, the legislation awaits Governor Lee’s signature to officially become law. 

State Rep. Mary Littleton represents House District 78 which includes Cheatham County and part of Dickson County. She can be reached at [email protected] or 615-741-7477. 


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