Children’s Services Announces New Organizational Structure

Monday, April 15, 2013 | 9:48am

Department reorganization aimed at advancing child safety, health and programs

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) Commissioner Jim Henry today announced changes to the department’s organizational structure aimed at elevating child safety, health and programming. The announcement follows a recently completed assessment of the department’s work.

“Over the past nine weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to review the department, talk with DCS staff and providers, and get valuable feedback from the community, all of which was used to develop the new organizational structure,” said Henry. “I believe the new structure will put the department on the path to improved performance by elevating our work around child safety.”

Under the new organizational structure, DCS Child Protective Services (CPS), the program which investigates reports of child abuse and neglect, will become its own division titled Child Safety. A new deputy commissioner position has been created to oversee the program previously housed with foster care and adoption. CPS assessment cases will continue to be worked regionally, but CPS investigators will begin reporting directly to Central Office to provide more consistency. DCS will also overhaul the recruitment, training and assessment process for CPS investigators.

A new division of Child Health is being created to oversee the child fatality review process, safety analysis, nursing, psychology and education. A new deputy commissioner position has been created to manage these programs. This will be the first time the department has united such programs.

The division of Child Programs, previously titled Child Welfare, will continue to house foster care and adoption, independent living and network development, and will add in-home services.

“Tennessee is consistently ranked number one in the nation in time to adoption and time to permanency, and we’re not planning to change that,” said Henry.  “We have moved some additional programs under the division including the well-received In Home Tennessee initiative.”

DCS will create a new division of Quality Assurance, Policy and Accreditation, which will be managed under a new assistant commissioner position. The department is pursuing continued accreditation with the Council on Accreditation. DCS’ current accreditation expires on Jan. 31, 2014.

The division of Finance and Information Technology will be separated. The current deputy commissioner position will continue to oversee Information Technology, and a new assistant commissioner position has been created to manage Budget and Finance.  

The division of Juvenile Justice, which manages the state’s Youth Development Centers, will not change. Its residential programs have been accredited by the American Correctional Association for more than 20 years.

The department’s new organizational chart is available at www.tn.gov/youth/pdfs/DCS_DRAFT_040213.pdf.

###

Contact: Molly Sudderth,  615-532-5645

Children's Services