Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services will need another two years to get its hundreds of child-abuse investigators through a new training program, meant to help them do a better job gathering information they can use in court.
It’s been almost a year since Jim Henry took over at DCS, after the previous commissioner stepped down amid reports the department was mis-handling data of child deaths.
In an update to state representatives Wednesday, Henry said they’re working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, to develop not so much social workers as child-abuse investigators, who have a social-services background. But, it’s taking awhile:
“Everyone’ll be trained by 2016. It’s going to take probably two years, but we’ve got almost 500 CPS investigators, and we can’t pull them all out of the field at the same time.”
Henry says they’re also working to clear a backlog of child death reviews.
Still, some lawmakers voiced concerns over the handling of calls reporting abuse, and also said workers fear reprisals if they point out problems within the department. At one point, Henry said he doubts DCS can ever make its critics 100 percent happy.