Report: DCS Progress with Foster Children “Disappointing”
(Nashville) A national advocacy group that filed a lawsuit on behalf of mistreated foster children in Tennessee called the state’s progress “disappointing” in a recent federal court filing.
Children’s Rights filed the updated monitoring report Monday. It’s part of the long standing Brian A. settlement.
Lawyers and advocates filed the class action suit in 2000. The suit was named after a 9-year-old boy who spent months in an overcrowded Memphis shelter because the Department of Children’s Services didn’t have anywhere else to put him.
The settlement requires DCS meet certain standards and provide updated information in federal court.
The most recent monitoring report, which covers 2012, notes workers didn’t act fast enough after receiving allegations of abuse or neglect.
In fact, only about 60 percent of children who may have been in imminent danger were seen within 24 hours.
The filing reveals older foster children aren’t adequately prepared for adulthood. In roughly 60 percent of those cases, there was no mention of where the child would live as an adult.
On a positive note, the report also shows kids were moved between foster homes less often, and the child abuse hotline dropped fewer calls.
DCS has had a number of problems over the past year including its computer system TFACTS, which wasn’t working properly. There was also a major staff overhaul, including replacing former Commissioner Kate O’Day with Jim Henry.
WREG is one of several media outlets that sued DCS in late 2012 for access to public records related to children who died in its care.
The judge in that case ordered DCS turn some 200 files of deaths and near deaths dating back to 2009.