TN DCS Says It Will Release Documents Without Court Order

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(Nashville, TN) New details in the fight to get public records from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services…

Officials with DCS say they will no longer wait for a court order to produce the rest of the files requested by WREG and other media outlets.

In a statement released late this afternoon, DCS Commissioner Jim Henry said he has asked the staff to move forward with retrieving and redacting the remaining files.

DCS turned over the first 50 of 200 in court last week.

Eight were missing.

The judge in the case questioned DCS’ attorneys during a recent hearing about why they hadn’t already started the process, saying about the media “I don’t thing they’re going away.”

The next hearing is scheduled for early June.

WREG and other media outlets sued DCS in December after the agency wouldn’t turn over public records regarding child fatalities.

Statement from Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jim Henry
Regarding Open Records Lawsuit

“On Monday, I instructed the department’s legal division to begin the process of retrieving and redacting court specified records from all remaining case files which are responsive to the public records request in Chancery Court. The Attorney General’s Office has also sent a letter to the plaintiffs’ attorney making them aware that the department intends to take this action.

“DCS has an obligation to operate according to state and federal laws when reporting confidential information about the children and families we work with and we are making every effort to do so. Now that the court has determined which documents are open to the public, we stand ready to produce the remaining 100 plus records to the court as quickly as possible without waiting on any additional orders.”