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Haslam names Jim Henry permanent DCS chief

12:56 PM, May 21, 2013   |    comments
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By Anita Wadhwani | The Tennessean

Jim Henry, who was named the temporary head of the troubled Department of Children's Services in February, will now assume the role permanently, Gov. Bill Haslam announced this morning.

Henry had held dual roles as interim commissioner of DCS and commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities since Feb. 5. He was appointed to DCS by Haslam after the abrupt departure of former DCS chief Kate O'Day, who resigned amid growing controversies over how the agency handled child deaths, the large-scale firing of more than 70 executive-level staffers, a child abuse hotline that lost callers to long wait times and violence at its youth detention centers.

Henry will step down from DIDD on June 1. Debra Payne, currently a deputy commissioner at DIDD, will take over as commissioner of that agency, which oversees services for adults with intellectual disabilities.

"These two departments handle some of the state's most difficult work concerning our most vulnerable citizens," Haslam noted in a press release.

The appointments are effective June 1.

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

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