Tue January 8, 2013
Tennessee Fights Transparency for Child Welfare
As some states move toward greater transparency when children under state supervision die, Tennessee is holding fast to its policy of blocking public access to case files.
A coalition of news organizations led by The Tennessean newspaper and including The Associated Press has sued to force Tennessee to release case records of children who died after the Department of Children's Services investigated reports of abuse or neglect.
The lawsuit uses Tennessee's public records law and argues it's in the public interest to know what steps the agency took to protect the children.
Commissioner Kate O'Day cites privacy concerns in refusing to disclose details, including the children's names. O'Day insists the rules are meant to protect families, and not to shield her agency from criticism.
A hearing is set for Tuesday.