Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 37: Juveniles

Chapter 5: Department of Children's Services

Part 1: General Provisions

TCA 37-5-103: Chapter definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

     (1)  "Abuse" exists when a person under the age of eighteen (18) is suffering from, has sustained or may be in immediate danger of suffering from or sustaining a wound, injury, disability or physical or mental condition caused by brutality, neglect or other actions or inactions of a parent, relative, guardian or caretaker;

     (2)  "Adjudication of delinquency" means that a juvenile court has found beyond a reasonable doubt that a child has committed a delinquent act, as defined in § 37-1-102, that is an act designated a crime under the law, including local ordinances of this state, or of another state if the act occurred in that state, or under federal law, and the crime does not fall under § 37-1-102(b)(23)(C) and the crime is not a traffic offense as defined in the traffic code of the state other than failing to stop when involved in an accident pursuant to § 55-10-101, driving while under the influence of an intoxicant or drug, vehicular homicide or any other traffic offense classified as a felony;

     (3)  "Adult" means, as defined in § 37-1-102, any person eighteen (18) years of age or older;

     (4)  (A)  "Child" means:

                (i)  A person under eighteen (18) years of age; or

                (ii)  A person under nineteen (19) years of age for the limited purpose of:

                     (a)  Remaining under the continuing jurisdiction of the juvenile court to enforce a non-custodial order of disposition entered prior to the person's eighteenth birthday;

                     (b)  Remaining under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for the purpose of being committed, or completing commitment including completion of home placement supervision, to the department with such commitment based on an adjudication of delinquency for an offense that occurred prior to the person's eighteenth birthday; or

                     (c)  Remaining under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for resolution of delinquent offense(s) committed prior to a person's eighteenth birthday but considered by the juvenile court after a person's eighteenth birthday with the court having the option of retaining jurisdiction for adjudication and disposition or transferring the person to criminal court under § 37-1-134.

          (B)  In no event shall a person eighteen (18) years of age or older be committed to or remain in the custody of the department of children's services by virtue of being adjudicated dependent and neglected, unruly, or in need of services pursuant to § 37-1-175, except as provided in § 37-1-173 [repealed].

          (C)  This subdivision (4) shall in no way be construed as limiting the court's jurisdiction to transfer a person to criminal court under § 37-1-134.

          (D)  A person eighteen (18) years of age is legally an adult for all other purposes including, but not limited to, enforcement of the court's orders under this subdivision (4) through its contempt power under § 37-1-158.

          (E)  No exception shall be made for a child who may be emancipated by marriage or otherwise.

     (5)  (A)  "Child sexual abuse" means, as defined in § 37-1-602, the commission of any act involving the unlawful sexual abuse, molestation, fondling or carnal knowledge of a child under thirteen (13) years of age that, prior to November 1, 1989, constituted the criminal offense of:

                (i)  Aggravated rape under § 39-2-603 [repealed];

                (ii)  Rape under § 39-2-604 [repealed];

                (iii)  Aggravated sexual battery under § 39-2-606 [repealed];

                (iv)  Sexual battery under § 39-2-607 [repealed];

                (v)  Assault with intent to commit rape or attempt to commit rape or sexual battery under § 39-2-608 [repealed];

                (vi)  Crimes against nature under § 39-2-612 [repealed];

                (vii)  Incest under § 39-4-306 [repealed];

                (viii)  Begetting child on wife's sister under § 39-4-307 [repealed];

                (ix)  Use of minor for obscene purposes under § 39-6-1137 [repealed]; or

                (x)  Promotion of performance including sexual conduct by minor under § 39-6-1138 [repealed];

          (B)  "Child sexual abuse" also means the commission of any act involving the unlawful sexual abuse, molestation, fondling or carnal knowledge of a child under the age of thirteen (13) that on or after November 1, 1989, constituted the criminal offense of:

                (i)  Aggravated rape under § 39-13-502;

                (ii)   Rape under § 39-13-503;

                (iii)  Aggravated sexual battery under § 39-13-504;

                (iv)  Sexual battery under § 39-13-505;

                (v)  Rape of a child under § 39-13-522;

                (vi)  Criminal attempt as provided in § 39-12-101 for any of the offenses listed above;

                (vii)  Incest under § 39-15-302;

                (viii)  Sexual exploitation of a minor under § 39-17-1003;

                (ix)  Aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor under § 39-17-1004; or

                (x)  Especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor under § 39-17-1005;

          (C)  "Child sexual abuse" also means one (1) or more of the following acts:

                (i)   Any penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anal opening of one person by the penis of another person, whether or not there is the emission of semen;

                (ii)  Any contact between the genitals or anal opening of one person and the mouth or tongue of another person;

                (iii)  Any intrusion by one person into the genitals or anal opening of another person, including the use of any object for this purpose, except that it shall not include acts intended for a valid medical purpose;

                (iv)  The intentional touching of the genitals or intimate parts, including the breasts, genital area, groin, inner thighs and buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of either the child or the perpetrator, except that it shall not include:

                     (a)  Acts that may reasonably be construed to be normal caretaker responsibilities, interactions with, or affection for a child; or

                     (b)  Acts intended for a valid medical purpose;

                (v)  The intentional exposure of the perpetrator's genitals in the presence of a child, or any other sexual act intentionally perpetrated in the presence of a child, if such exposure or sexual act is for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, aggression, degradation or other similar purpose; or

                (vi)  The sexual exploitation of a child, which includes allowing, encouraging or forcing a child to:

                     (a)  Solicit for or engage in prostitution; or

                     (b)  Engage in an act prohibited by § 39-17-1003;

          (D)  For the purposes of the reporting, investigation and treatment provisions of §§ 37-1-603 — 37-1-615, "child sexual abuse" also means the commission of any act specified in subdivisions (5)(A)-(C) against a child thirteen (13) years of age through seventeen (17) years of age if such act is committed against the child by a parent, guardian, relative, person residing in the child's home or other person responsible for the care and custody of the child;

     (6)  "Commissioner" means the commissioner of children's services;

     (7)  "Department" means the department of children's services;

     (8)  "Dependent and neglected" means, as defined in § 37-1-102, a child:

          (A)  Who is without a parent, guardian or legal custodian;

          (B)  Whose parent, guardian or person with whom the child lives, by reason of cruelty, mental incapacity, immorality or depravity, is unfit to properly care for such child;

          (C)  Who is under unlawful or improper care, supervision, custody or restraint by any person, corporation, agency, association, institution, society or other organization or who is unlawfully kept out of school;

          (D)  Whose parent, guardian or custodian neglects or refuses to provide necessary medical, surgical, institutional or hospital care for such child;

          (E)  Who, because of lack of proper supervision, is found in any place the existence of which is in violation of law;

          (F)  Who is in such condition of want or suffering or is under such improper guardianship or control as to injure or endanger the morals or health of such child or others;

          (G)  Who is suffering from abuse or neglect;

          (H)  Who has been in the care and control of an agency or person who is not related to such child by blood or marriage for a continuous period of eighteen (18) months or longer in the absence of a court order and such person or agency has not initiated judicial proceedings seeking either legal custody or adoption of the child; or

          (I)  Who is or has been allowed, encouraged or permitted to engage in prostitution or obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, posing or similar activity and whose parent, guardian or other custodian neglects or refuses to protect such child from further such activity;

     (9)  "Guardian" means, for purposes of adoptions and terminations of parental rights, the meanings set forth in § 36-1-102 and, for all other purposes, the meaning set forth in § 34-1-101;

     (10)  "Imminent risk" means circumstances or behavior likely to produce, within a relatively short period of time, a reasonably strong probability that the child will be placed in state custody;

     (11)  "Juvenile" means a person under eighteen (18) years of age. No exception shall be made for a child who may be emancipated by marriage or otherwise;

     (12)  "Legal custodian" means a person or agency to whom legal custody of a child has been given by court order. A legal custodian has the right to physical custody of the child; the right to determine the nature of the care and treatment of the child, including ordinary medical care; and the right and duty to provide for the care, protection, training, education and physical, mental and moral welfare of the child. Such rights and duties are, however, subject to the conditions and limitations of the order granting legal custody and to the remaining rights and duties of the child's parent(s);

     (13)  "Order of referral" means a juvenile court order entered prior to a child being adjudicated unruly or dependent and neglected, or prior to the disposition of a child who has been adjudicated delinquent, unruly or dependent and neglected, that directs that the department make an assessment of the child and report the findings and recommendations to the court;

     (14)  "Report of harm" means a report regarding child abuse filed under § 37-1-403 or a report regarding child sexual abuse filed under § 37-1-605;

     (15)  (A)  "Unruly" means, as defined in § 37-1-102, a child in need of treatment and rehabilitation who:

                (i)  Habitually and without justification is truant from school while subject to compulsory school attendance under § 49-6-3007;

                (ii)  Habitually is disobedient of the reasonable and lawful commands of the child's parent(s), guardian or other legal custodian to the degree that such child's health and safety are endangered;

                (iii)  Commits an offense that is applicable only to a child; or

                (iv)  Is away from the home, residence or any other residential placement of the child's parent(s), guardian or other legal custodian without their consent. Such child shall be known and defined as a "runaway;"

          (B)  The above definition shall be effective July 1, 1996, before which date the definition of "unruly" shall be the definition found in former § 37-1-102(b)(21), as it read prior to July 1, 1996; and

     (16)  "Youth development center" means a hardware secure facility that houses children who have been adjudicated delinquent and who meet the criteria as established by the department for placement at such facility.

History: [Acts 1996, ch. 1079, § 4; 2000, ch. 947, § 8G; 2005, ch. 265, § 7.]