By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services is asking for more than $8 million to hire new staff and make other improvements to the agency that has been highly scrutinized over children's deaths.
Commissioner Kate O'Day and her staff met with Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday during budget hearings for fiscal year 2013-14. Haslam has asked state departments to develop plans for a 5 percent spending cut as a fallback.
O'Day said part of the money would be used to hire more case workers and attorneys.
The agency has released information that showed 31 children it had investigated died during the first half of 2012.
Haslam said granting the entire $8.6 million request would be tough because of a tight budget, but said he understood the need.