Lawmakers begin hearing on DCS

12:30 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
CS Commissioner Kate O'Day talks with the Tennessean editorial board in October. - Steven S. Harman / The Tennessean / File
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By Anita Wadhwani | The Tennessean


A day after the resignation of Department of Children's Services chief Kate O'Day, an already scheduled hearing by lawmakers to examine agency woes will get under way at 11 a.m.

Interim DCS Commissioner Jim Henry and DCS' chief legal counsel Doug Dimond will addresss the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, a spokeswoman said this morning.

The hearing was originally expected to include O'Day, who instead had resigned by Tuesday morning. In announcing her resignation, Gov. Bill Haslam said O'Day had felt she had become a distraction from the agency's work in caring for children.

Henry is commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He will continue in that job as well as overseeing the state's $650 million child welfare agency until Haslam finds a replacement.

DCS has come under scrutiny for a growing series of problems that includes at least four separate acknowledgements it had miscounted the deaths of children served by the agency, a glitchy $27 million computer system that failed to properly track children in its care, a child abuse hotline unable to handle all calls and accusations caseworkers failed to adequately investigation child abuse, among other things.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have called for hearings to examine the troubled agency.

Reach Anita Wadhwani at awadhwani@tennessean.com or 615-259-8092

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