Two high-ranking Republicans say they’ll hold legislative meetings to examine the state’s troubled Department of Children’s Services. The Tennessean reports House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey plan to announce meetings to be held later this month when the Tennessee General Assembly reconvenes in Nashville.
The DCS has come under intense criticism recently for refusing to share details about the cases of 31 children who died in the first six months of 2012. Those 31 children had previously been brought to the attention of the DCS, leading to questions about whether more could have been done to place the children in a safer environment.
Democratic Rep. Mike Turner has previously called for a legislative investigation into how DCS protects vulnerable young people in the Volunteer state. The New-York based group Children's Rights is also pressing Tennessee to get the DCS to release case records.
A national advocacy organization is asking a federal judge to force the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to hand over child death records. The New York-based Children’s Rights first sued the Volunteer State in 2000 over youth safety concerns.
Children’s Rights has filed a new motion in federal court saying two children died inside the same Tennessee foster home within six months, and that the response to the incidents by the Department of Children’s Services raised, what it called, “serious concerns.”
The Tennessean reports the New York group wants the DCS to provide child fatality records for children who died in 2011 and 2012 and who had prior contact with the department. There has been no formal response by DCS to the federal motion.
The department in the past has said it will provide records before ultimately deciding it was against releasing case records due to confidentiality concerns. The court filing by Children’s Rights says the few internal records and summaries filed by DCS in December made it “impossible to determine what transpired in those cases.”
Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner is calling for a special meeting to investigate the Department of Children's Services' refusal to release records related to the abuse and death of children under its care.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner is calling for a special meeting to investigate the Department of Children's Services' refusal to release records related to the abuse and death of children under its care.
Turner sent the request for the joint government operations committee to Gov. Bill Haslam, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell, all Republicans.
The Tennessean newspaper and a group of Tennessee news organizations, including The Associated Press, have asked a judge to open records from the department.
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.
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.