(Memphis) While there was plenty of attention surrounding Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to send kids to two year colleges for free, there was much less fanfare for other items in his 2014-2015 proposed spending plan.
One agency that could see increased funding is the Department of Children's Services.
DCS has a proposed budget of $695 million, which does include some reductions. It also includes a $13.6 million increase, of which almost half would come from state funding.
Gov. Haslam's recommendation is exactly in line with what DCS requested.
The $6.4 million proposed state increase would go toward funding new positions and additional money for investigations and training.
DCS wants to add 89 new positions:
- 45 - Child Protective Services (Investigations and Assessments)
- 40 - Family Social Worker Case Manager Positions
- 4 - Child Death Unit
Another big chunk of the money would go toward the increased caseload in adoption assistance.
The agency also wants to buy iPads, or some sort of mobile technology to allow caseworkers to access TFACTS while in the field.
Plus, leaders want to continue funding current training with the TBI.
Commissioner Jim Henry has told the On Your Side Investigators a number of times that he believes better outcomes will happen with better investigations.
The governor's recommendations still have to be approved by the legislature.
The Comptroller's office recently released an audit of DCS that noted several problems, but also mentioned recent changes made by the embattled agency.
Meanwhile, in another effort toward transparency, DCS will be hosting a Children's Forum on March 11th at 10 a.m. at its Nashville headquarters.
The event is open to the public. If you'd like to attend, call 615-741-7250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.