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House votes to streamline adoptions of young foster children

The Tennessee House of Representatives last week approved legislation to improve the adoption process for foster parents of young children who have been abandoned.

House Bill 163 clarifies that if a parent or guardian fails to visit or support a child younger than four years old for three consecutive months it will qualify as abandonment and the child will be eligible for adoption. Currently, the time period for abandonment is four months. Additionally, if a child resides in a foster parent’s home for at least three months, a judge may waive the six-month waiting period for the order of adoption.

“Most children are moved around three times in the first year that they are in foster care,” said bill sponsor State Rep. Ed Butler, R-Rickman. “This type of legislation will help reduce that.”

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The companion version of the legislation is still advancing through the Senate.

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