Democratic Lawmaker Defends DCS Commissioner

Oct 9, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Democratic lawmaker who has criticized the Tennessee Department of Children's Services over the years says the agency's commissioner shouldn't be scrutinized for deeply rooted problems she has inherited.

About two weeks ago, the embattled agency released information that showed 31 children it had investigated died during the first six months of 2012. The figures were provided after repeated requests by another Democratic lawmaker.

Critics want DCS Commissioner Kate O'Day to be replaced.

But Rep. John Deberry of Memphis told The Associated Press this week that O'Day isn't to blame, but rather many of the workers she oversees. He says a solution would be to "clean house."

Deberry said in a recent letter to Gov. Bill Haslam and House Speaker Beth Harwell that problems within DCS have been occurring the entire 18 years he has been in the Legislature.