Haslam Sees Upside To Release Of DCS Death Records

Gov. Bill Haslam says he doesn't yet know enough to determine if there were problems in how DCS death cases were handled. Credit: TN Photo Services

Gov. Bill Haslam says he doesn’t yet know enough to determine if there were problems in how DCS death cases were handled. Credit: TN Photo Services

Governor Bill Haslam says he will review the 1,600 pages of child death records released late Friday by a Nashville judge, who called them a “very hard” read.

The 42 cases of death or near-death range from kids killed in a house fire to a two-year-old shot by her toddler brother. Some of the stories have been printed in The Tennessean over the last few days, and Governor Haslam says he can see some value in more people knowing about the tough job the Department of Children’s Services has.

“One of the things I like is every time there’s a story about what actually happened in that situation, I think most readers go, ‘oh, well if that’s the situation, I understand how hard it is to deal with the issues in front of us.’”

However, the Haslam Administration has fought to keep the death records sealed, only releasing them to a media coalition after a judge ordered DCS to comply.

Problems in the agency led former Commissioner Kate O’Day to step down from her post earlier this year.

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