TN House Passes Bill That Could Criminalize Parents Based On Anonymous Allegations

Apr 14, 2023 | Political News

The Tennessee General Assembly has just passed a bill to amend current law, making it a criminal offense for families to hide children outside of the state when that child is in custody of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS).

Reports of child abuse or neglect can be submitted to DCS anonymously and without evidence. The agency is also not required to verify source credibility before filing allegations in court and getting a judge to sign an order to put your child in state custody. 

Under this legislation, parents could be charged with a felony offense for failure to turn over their child to the state.

The bill goes on to essentially relieve DCS of having to properly notify parents with a removal order, stating it is not a defense that “the person harboring or hiding the child has not been served with an actual copy of a protective custody order or emergency custody order.”

House Bill 1109 (HB1109) is sponsored by Rep. Ron Travis (R-Dayton-District 31) who has summarized the legislation as simply an amendment to current law, that would enact stipulations against harboring children in another state when that child has knowingly been placed in DCS custody.