Tennessee Lawmaker Blasts State Children's Services for Information Delay

Oct 8, 2012

Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services is coming under fire for not being able to provide information on deaths involving children in state custody. State Represenatative Sherry Jones says she’s been waiting more than two months for the data.

The Tennessean newspaper reports it requested similar information, but the Department of Children’s Services wasn’t able to provide any immediate numbers.

Rep. Jones has asked the Department to tell her how many children in state custody have died this year, and how many deaths occurred among children for whom the agency had ever opened a file. Jones told The Tennessean that the lack of response so far is “dangerous” and “ridiculous.”

A new computer system is supposed to track every child who is in custody or is the subject of a report or investigation. But the system has been wracked with problems since it was put into use two years ago.

This, and other problems with the DCS, mean the department will remain under court-ordered oversight, which has been in place since 2000. That’s when a federal judge ruled that Tennessee was failing to properly care for children in foster care.