By Tony Gonzalez | The Tennessean
Lawmakers this week voted to renew the Second Look Commission, an expert panel that examines the worst cases of child abuse in Tennessee, and how they were investigated by the Department of Children's Services. The commission, formed two years ago, had faced discontinuation.
DCS Interim Commissioner Jim Henry has supported the commission's "strong independent oversight," and bills to extend the commission passed unopposed in both houses -- in the House on Monday -- and await the governor's signature.
The commission's most recent annual report found that DCS and law enforcement left some severe abuse investigations incomplete, that authorities need more training, and that some children still endure repeat severe abuse without protective intervention.
The commission is comprised of child welfare workers and advocates, legislators, law enforcement and others from the criminal justice system and had a budget of $99,614 in 2012. The commission director and only paid staff member is Craig Hargrow, a former juvenile court magistrate and DCS attorney.
Hargrow said the commission meets next week and will examine how to approach case reviews going forward.
"One of the things that came up with the meeting with Jim Henry was that DCS appreciated the report, but thought more specificity would be helpful," Hargrow said.