State Legislator Angered Over Child Deaths

(Memphis) State Representative John Deberry said the deaths of a 6-year-old and 1-year-old, who police said were killed by their mother, should’ve been prevented.

“At this point what we need are some answers as to why these vulnerable children were obviously in the custody, in the hands or in the proximity of someone who should not have had them,” said Rep. DeBerry.

According to DCS, accused mother Jamina Briggs didn’t have custody of her two older children. A judge granted custody to a family member.

Since the kids were not in state custody, DCS doesn’t check in.

In a email from DCS representative Rob Johnson Friday, he said :

“We want children and families to be able to live their lives without undue intrusion from DCS.

“That posture changes, of course, if there are reports that children are being abused and neglected. If we had such information, then we would certainly investigate.”

DeBerry said that isn’t good enough.

“I don’t think the people of Tennessee are going to sit back and watch children be butchered while everybody points fingers as to who’s responsibility it is,” said DeBerry.

According to Johnson, would be up to a judge to decide if Briggs had visitation rights with her children unless “as long as there is not an order restricting that visitation or making a requirement that the visit be supervised.”

“That’s what the legislature is for and we need to look into this if there is some grey area, if there is a hole in the safety net, we need to find it and we need to fix it.”

Deberry said he plans on meeting with DCS next week to learn more about Briggs’ case.

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