Department of Children's Services

Department of Children's Services

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BGF

Lenoir City, TN

#1 Sep 14, 2006
Does anyone think that the Tennessee Department of Children's Services will play any part in the gubernatorial campaign this year?

We continue to read of atrocity after atrocity in the local media where DCS has failed to protect the children of our state. One of the most recent cases reported in the Tennessean on 9/7/06, "DCS failed another child" ( http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic... ) involved a 5 year old boy named Carlyle Mullins who died and even DCS says the caseworker was at fault. Yet, even with her failures that resulted in the loss of an innocent life, she was merely transferred to another position within the department. Her actions as a CPS worker, at a minimum, constitute negligence, if not gross negligence. And, the latter is an offense worthy of nothing less than termination, if not prosecution. And, many sure remember little Haley Spicer that suffered at the hands of CPS's ineptness.

But, the CPS division is far from the only problem with Viola Miller's department. In the field, the Courts are becoming increasingly frustrated with the department's inept ability to provide for proper placement of juveniles. Delinquent juveniles are placed in non-secure locations. When the continually runaway or escape, they get returned to similar placements. Delinquent juveniles with known escape/runaway histories have been put in non-secure locations by the Placement Division, even when field workers have cautioned against it. And, for noting their caution, they get threatened with disciplinary action, if they do not comply. When someone tried to look out for the Tennessee public, they are threatened with disciplinary action.

Dr. Viola P. Miller's (DCS Commissioner) background is one of social work. And, that is evidenced in her approach to dealing with youth, even on the delinquent side. The big DCS push, with Viola Miller at the helm, is to treat all juveniles as social services cases. Theory being that they are all products of their environments.

That may be true in some respects. But, there is a difference between a child in need of social services and a delinquent juvenile. The latter has committed a crime, not just been truant, unruly or substantiated on some status offense (i.e. only a crime because they are under 18 yoa). A delinquent offense is something that would otherwise be considered criminal were it committed by an adult.

Some say that we need more legislative oversight. But, we have had a Select Committee on Children & Youth with representatives from the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Senate for decades now that are supposed to monitor DCS and other efforts involving children. And, many of these elected legislators have been on this same committee for many years. There is not much new blood to give a new set of eyes to look at the issues at hand.

Issues sent to the governor's office are forwarded to Dr. Viola P. Miller, the Commissioner of DCS. That is like asking the fox to watch the hen house, to ask her to review complaints against her department and her.

Some legislators have called for the knee-jerk reaction of abolishing DCS and rebuilding from the ground up. But, that isn't feasible. But, a major restructuring of efforts dealing our state's youth could and should take place, post haste.

So, what do we do. I am only one voice. Has anyone out there written their state senator or representative to voice concerns about the issues with DCS? Have you heard anything back? Usually, I don't get a response or I get what seems to be a canned statement that is copied and pasted into an e-mail back to me.

BGF
johnx

United States

#2 Dec 17, 2006
they need to concentrate on real cases and stop intervening in every house that a parent is caught smoking dope. maybe help these people but don't take the kids out for years at a time, which is the way it ends up and which costs taxpayers enormous amounts of money. time and money could be spent on the cases where abuse is more severe.

on the other hand, i think that is the objective. there are so many private providers that make a little here and there on each one of their social services provided and most all are ultimately owned by a crony of the governor. so you get the picture.
cynthia

Manchester, TN

#3 Jan 3, 2007
i have dealt with this system first hand and is jacked up. the people who try to do their job have people over them who just want a pay check and don't care.i have a family member that would leave her babies at home alone, i told the worker, she got arrested for child abuse the worker kept the police from taking her to jail. when we went to court the advocate tried to help keep the children from returning home but the DCS worker fixed it so that the children were returned. of course, now she won't let me see the childern, all i can do is pray that i don't see on the news where she have done something even more tragic
Carol

United States

#4 Jan 4, 2007
My grandson is one of the current victims of DCS's incompetence. He is nearly 4, and has been sexually abused by his father since age 2 (maybe younger, that's just when he could tell us about it). The first time it was reported, they said the child was too young. The 2nd time, the caseworker sided with the father, even though a psychologist was telling her she believed the allegations were true! My daughter and I both wrote to Ms. Miller, but absolutely nothing was done about the caseworker, who should have been fired. The case worker treated my daughter and I like we were criminals, and actually lied about the results of the polygraph taken by the father. She told us he passed it, when in fact his results were "inconclusive".
So we started over with another psychologist. This one also thought there was abuse and called the hotline. Then in the interview they asked him questions that he (a 3 year old) did not even understand, so that didn't help. Finally I called the hotline, and the father ended up with limited supervised visitation. So finally my grandson was safe. Then, we went back to court to set a time for Christmas Day visitation, and another caseworker recommended that the father get him back! Now the abuse has started again, and I have written another letter to Ms. Miller and also the governor. I'm thinking about going to the media. This system does not remotely protect children!
Christine

Missoula, MT

#5 Feb 21, 2007
I am collecting cases like this and would like to email privately witn anyone who has a story like this to tell. The best case scenario is that you would have documented the journey through the DCS nightmare with taped conversations (you should NEVER talk to anyone about your situation without a tape recorder!) and actual court and DCS documents gathered, along with medical files, psych reports, drug and alcohol reports, etc. If you have a similar story and would like to be heard, please email me or visit FamilyPreservationAlliance dot org.
Christine
Carol wrote:
My grandson is one of the current victims of DCS's incompetence. He is nearly 4, and has been sexually abused by his father since age 2 (maybe younger, that's just when he could tell us about it). The first time it was reported, they said the child was too young. The 2nd time, the caseworker sided with the father, even though a psychologist was telling her she believed the allegations were true! My daughter and I both wrote to Ms. Miller, but absolutely nothing was done about the caseworker, who should have been fired. The case worker treated my daughter and I like we were criminals, and actually lied about the results of the polygraph taken by the father. She told us he passed it, when in fact his results were "inconclusive".
So we started over with another psychologist. This one also thought there was abuse and called the hotline. Then in the interview they asked him questions that he (a 3 year old) did not even understand, so that didn't help. Finally I called the hotline, and the father ended up with limited supervised visitation. So finally my grandson was safe. Then, we went back to court to set a time for Christmas Day visitation, and another caseworker recommended that the father get him back! Now the abuse has started again, and I have written another letter to Ms. Miller and also the governor. I'm thinking about going to the media. This system does not remotely protect children!
Christine

Missoula, MT

#6 Feb 21, 2007
If this forum allows email, my contact is [email protected]
Laura

Memphis, TN

#7 Feb 22, 2007
Not only does DCS, in most states, fail to properly investigate and remove children but they are becoming more diligent about removing children in perfectly fine homes. Why the push? Money! They get thousands of dollars for children they can adopt out and who easier to adopt than un-damaged children. Instead of doing their job to help children, they have become a business.
Laura Smith
Tennessee Family Rights Advocates
http://tnfamilyrights.bravehost.com
Dortha Dale Wilson

Nashville, TN

#8 Mar 28, 2007
My grandaughter is being abused by her mother and the mother's so called partner. My grandaughter will be 4 years old May 2. She has told us that her mother's partner got mad at her and grabbed her hurting her arm. There were brusies the size of fingers on both arms. My grandaughter told me that her mother and the mother's partner were touching her and she was going to tell them to stop. We reported the incident to DCS of Cambell County, Case Worker Maleia Henegar. Were told to take my grandaughter to Children's Hospital and have her examined. After the examination the doctor tried to reach Maliea Henegar but Ms.Henegar would not answer the call or did not return the call. We were told by the doctor not to allow my grandaughter to return to her mother and given medicine to apply to her privates. Maleia Henegar of Department of Child Services in Cambell County did not support us at all and even made a scene in front of the mother and her partner when we were in courtsaying,"DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY WOULD DO THAT?!; STICK THINGS UP HER RECTUM AND HAVE ORAL SEX WITH HER?!" None of the family ever said anything about oral sex or sticking things up my grandaughter's rectum! We simply stated what my grandaughter had told us. DCS of Cambell county dismissed the case and sent my grandaughter back to the mother. My grandauther has gone back in her shell and is again telling us upsetting behavior her mother is doing. Maleia Henegar told us we filed the compliant because my grandaughter's mother is a lesbian. I do not agree with her lifestyle but her being a lesbian is not the issue. What is going on in front of my grandaughter and the way my grandaughter is being treated is an issue. I am really scared for my grandaughter. I would like to take her out of the violent atomosphere before she gets hurt. Maleia Henegar or anyone else at Cambell County DCS does not care. I have read other stories about DCS and how they have let concerned parents and grandparents down and I panic. I don't know how to help my grandaughter. After the Haley Spicer case you would think that Cambell County Department of Child Services would be willing to investigate and get to the bottom of reported child abuse. My grandaughter has night terrors and has times she is withdrawn. She also tells me about monsters being in her mommy's house. Please pray for my grandaughter and my family.Hopefully, God will see that we are truthfull about our concern and see that my grandaughter's abusers are stopped before my grandaughter is injured.
Cynthia

Jasper, TN

#9 Apr 14, 2007
Christine wrote:
I am collecting cases like this and would like to email privately witn anyone who has a story like this to tell. The best case scenario is that you would have documented the journey through the DCS nightmare with taped conversations (you should NEVER talk to anyone about your situation without a tape recorder!) and actual court and DCS documents gathered, along with medical files, psych reports, drug and alcohol reports, etc. If you have a similar story and would like to be heard, please email me or visit FamilyPreservationAlliance dot org.
Christine
<quoted text>
Hi, my name is Cynthia Whitson, and I'm going thru the same thing with DCS and my daughter. This case has been going on since 2005 and he (her father) is getting supervised visits. My daughter was 5 at the time now she is seven. She has had four assessments done and one of them is a doctor that her dad's lawyer hired because they did not agree with the results from DCS, and that doctor said the same thing that something did happen. I'm currently taking her to counseling on my own, because DCS does not pay for that. Now, DCS is telling me that he will probably get his regular visits back, due to the fact that there is no physical evidence. When it is molestation there is no physical evidence. He father also took a polygraph test and failed every question. This is the second time he has been investigated. The first time she came home with bruises all over her from where he had kicked her. A police report was done and DCS was invovled but it never went anywhere. I have wrote Phil Bredesen, Phillip Pinon, Roy Herron, and President Bush. I have alos sent them e-mails along with Channel 6 news, Channel 5 news, and the Today Show. The only response I have recieved was from DCS in Nashville stating that they recieved a letter from Pinion wanting them to contact me. I explained to her that the letter was to our government restricting DCS from doing a better job. There are laws that need to be changed so DCS can do more for the children. I will continue in my efforts to get this message heard, until someone listens to me. I'm willing to go public, like I have been trying to but more people need to get involved with these children so their voices can be heard. Let me know something. My e-mail is [email protected]
Sincerely, Cynthia Whitson
Dee

Nashville, TN

#10 Apr 18, 2007
I have first hand experience with the Department of Child Services(DCS)in Cambell County Tennessee. My advise to anyone who has a child who they believe is being abused is not to call DCS. Call the Police and file a police report of what happened and what the child is saying. Take the child to children's hospital for an physical exam and then hire a good lawyer. Be sure to have everything documented from start to finish and get a copy of the hospital report.

Since: Feb 07

Newington, CT

#11 Apr 19, 2007
My heart goes out to everyone on this thread.

I work at Children and Families here in CT (as a payroll clerk, not as a social worker), and after reading what is happening to people here, your version of it makes mine look a day at the park.

People, what really needs to happen at yours, is what happened at mine: A monster Federal lawsuit in regards to the deaths and maltreatment of children; and complete incompetence of the agency from top to bottom.

My agency has this happen to them about ten years ago, and they are still under a Federal Court monitor to this day. We have 21 points to meet and so far have only met 15 of them with any consistency.

It sounds like this is something that you as a state should seriously consider doing. A class action federal lawsuit won't solve everything, but getting a federal oversight monitor in, will be a step in the right direction.
Dee

Nashville, TN

#12 May 1, 2007
Please help anyone with experience with child abuse matters: Cambell County DCS, "Maleia Henegar" was called on the carpet by the child's lawyer after failing to retrieve hospital reports of the abuse a 4 year old little girl experienced by her mother and her mother's lesbian partner. Maleia Henegar,DCS of Cambell County, social worker stated, " I was not aware this report existed and the father did not tell me about the report from the doctor stating that the baby had been sexually abused." The truth is the father took Maleia Henegar of Cambell County DCS social worker a signed statement from the doctor at Children's Hospital stating it was imporatant to call the Children's hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee about the physical exam showing sexual abuse and instructions for the baby not to return to her mother. The Children's Hospital tried to reach Maliea Henegar but Maleia would not return the call. Now Maliea has taken the baby from the father without reason and giving the custody of the baby to the mother's best friend. The mother continues a lesiban relationship with a woman who the child has claimed is sexually hurting her. The child was taken from a secure home the father provided for 5 months and place with the mother's friend. Please if anyone has been through this situation please advise. I am very concerned that the mother and her "partner" will mental and physically abusive to my granddaughter as I know has been proven in the past. Please be aware, anyone in Campbell County Tennessee, 221 Patty Hill Road, be aware, you are near people who abuse children. Patty Hill Road overlooks Cove Lake State Park in Cambpell County Tennessee. If you are around this area protect your children! My grandaughter is in danger from her own mother and I can not do anything but fight DCS through court which could take a long time. By the time the truth is revealed, I am afraid my grandaughter will be emotionally damaged for life. I am very shocked that our tax payers dollars is paying for something that does not help our childern at all. There are parents out there that have no regard what so ever for their children's life. I also beleive that DCS in Campbell County Tennessee is not concerned with the welfare of our children. DCS maleia henegar, social worker of Cambell County is a liar and has lied to my family and covered up facts about the aubuse my grandaughter is in to protect the abusive mother. Aso know that my grandaughter's abuser is a RN at a Norris nursing home. She has held 3 different jobs in the past year because the nursing homes she has been employed at keep terminating her. I am unable to find the reason for the terminations because her places of employment will not release that information.
Dee

Nashville, TN

#13 May 1, 2007
Cynthia,
I hope you will be able to protect your daughter. Since she is 7 years old maybe the judge in a court of law will listen to her testimony. I was in court this week about the abuse my grandaughter was going through and witnessed the judge accepting testimony from a little boy 7 years old. The little boy told how the father was loving and caring and the mother, in this case was the abuser. The mother did not even have a refrigerator to keep food in. The little boy said he would rather live with his father. The judge awarded full custody to the father because the father provided more stability. The father spoke to the judge about giving the mother vistation because his children love their mother. What amazed me was the mother was not upset at all about losing her childern. There were two twin girls 5 years old and a 7 year old boy. Can you believe a mother would feel that way about her children?!!
My hear goes out to you and I will say a prayer for you and everyone who loves children. You know God loves our children and I believe in the end he will make things right.
Sincerly,
DD
Cynthia wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi, my name is Cynthia Whitson, and I'm going thru the same thing with DCS and my daughter. This case has been going on since 2005 and he (her father) is getting supervised visits. My daughter was 5 at the time now she is seven. She has had four assessments done and one of them is a doctor that her dad's lawyer hired because they did not agree with the results from DCS, and that doctor said the same thing that something did happen. I'm currently taking her to counseling on my own, because DCS does not pay for that. Now, DCS is telling me that he will probably get his regular visits back, due to the fact that there is no physical evidence. When it is molestation there is no physical evidence. He father also took a polygraph test and failed every question. This is the second time he has been investigated. The first time she came home with bruises all over her from where he had kicked her. A police report was done and DCS was invovled but it never went anywhere. I have wrote Phil Bredesen, Phillip Pinon, Roy Herron, and President Bush. I have alos sent them e-mails along with Channel 6 news, Channel 5 news, and the Today Show. The only response I have recieved was from DCS in Nashville stating that they recieved a letter from Pinion wanting them to contact me. I explained to her that the letter was to our government restricting DCS from doing a better job. There are laws that need to be changed so DCS can do more for the children. I will continue in my efforts to get this message heard, until someone listens to me. I'm willing to go public, like I have been trying to but more people need to get involved with these children so their voices can be heard. Let me know something. My e-mail is [email protected]
Sincerely, Cynthia Whitson
Carol

United States

#14 May 9, 2007
I wrote the above msg dated Jan, 2007. I feel so much for all the stories here, bc they are so similar to my own. I also wrote to the commissioner, Phil Bredesen, and am thinking about the media such as Bill O'Reilly, etc. We were sent to a DCs psychologist, who was very nice, but the whole thing was useless because nothing was followed up on. DCS came to my grandson's (4 year old) preschool and interviewed him and said the case was reopened and we would hear from someone. We never did. We finally hired a lawyer and went to court this past Tuesday. My daughter's ex-husband's (the abuser) lawyer bases his whole case on the fact that we have continually gone to DCS and they always say unfounded. That's even though my grandson told the interviewer that his dad touches his privates, his bottom, and makes my grandson touch his dad's private. Now we go back to court on May 5th and we have no idea whether the child will be safe after that or given back to the father. We do have a psychologist report that states the child has indicated innapropriate sexual contact between father and son.
My advice to anyone is to skip DCS, go to a psychologist for as many sessions as it takes, then hire a lawyer and go to court. If we had not used DCS we would have alot better chance in court.
Dee

Nashville, TN

#15 May 10, 2007
Carol,
I agree. DCS harms children. The experience I have encountered with DCS is they are uneducated people who are too lazy to help our children. I don't understand. We have proof also of abuse from my grandaughter's mother. DCS has taken the mother's side from the begining. My grandaugher told us her mother and friend are hurting her. The case worker withheld information and now has taken my grandauther from my son who has provided a loving happy life for her for 4 months. I have sent Knoxville News the story but really don't expect to hear anything. No one wants to get involved. DCS caseworkers who abuse their power need to be removed from their position.
splitinhalf

Monterey, TN

#16 May 16, 2007
Incompetence, unethical, immoral, discriminatory, false reporting, 6 months w/no court ordered safety plan, classism,
no permanancy plan, no proof of wrongdoing of parent through court yet, illegal removal of custody rights..said to judge as one thing, presented and signed as "custody". Emotional and psychological abuse of entire family and most especially 3 year old child. Sound familiar? Class action?

Since: May 07

McMinnville, TN

#17 May 17, 2007
Poor little Chinese girl in the news! Just one more example of child ownership. And I thought that slavery was abolished.
lee

Louisville, KY

#18 Jun 13, 2007
my advice is tell them to leave your home you do not have to talk to them it is your right
Angel

Richmond, VA

#19 Jul 3, 2007
I would just like to comment on this post. I know that if you file a report with the police; by law they have to contact DCS because they cannot make decisions when it comes to what happens to any child under the age of 18 unless they have committed a crime and then at that; DCS will still be involved. They will transport that juvenile to a YDC but then a referral is automatically made to involve DCS.
Dee wrote:
I have first hand experience with the Department of Child Services(DCS)in Cambell County Tennessee. My advise to anyone who has a child who they believe is being abused is not to call DCS. Call the Police and file a police report of what happened and what the child is saying. Take the child to children's hospital for an physical exam and then hire a good lawyer. Be sure to have everything documented from start to finish and get a copy of the hospital report.
Angel

Richmond, VA

#20 Jul 3, 2007
Just a response on this one just like the post about using law enforcement. EVERYONE has a responsibility by law in TN to report abuse. This report can be made through law enforcement but it will always go back to DCS. A psychologist cannot keep information to themselves about abuse and not risk losing their license and being charged with "failure to report suspected child abuse and neglect". Trust me when I say that I know very well that DCS has it's faults but there is no way of getting around them being involved with a child under the age of 18 when there is suspected abuse. Another thing as well, of course a parent has a right to counsel but an attorney CANNOT hinder a child abuse investigation. Now sure, that attorney can suggest his own rules such as the interview setting, time, date...etc but he cannot stop the child from being interviewed...just the parent.
Carol wrote:
I wrote the above msg dated Jan, 2007. I feel so much for all the stories here, bc they are so similar to my own. I also wrote to the commissioner, Phil Bredesen, and am thinking about the media such as Bill O'Reilly, etc. We were sent to a DCs psychologist, who was very nice, but the whole thing was useless because nothing was followed up on. DCS came to my grandson's (4 year old) preschool and interviewed him and said the case was reopened and we would hear from someone. We never did. We finally hired a lawyer and went to court this past Tuesday. My daughter's ex-husband's (the abuser) lawyer bases his whole case on the fact that we have continually gone to DCS and they always say unfounded. That's even though my grandson told the interviewer that his dad touches his privates, his bottom, and makes my grandson touch his dad's private. Now we go back to court on May 5th and we have no idea whether the child will be safe after that or given back to the father. We do have a psychologist report that states the child has indicated innapropriate sexual contact between father and son.
My advice to anyone is to skip DCS, go to a psychologist for as many sessions as it takes, then hire a lawyer and go to court. If we had not used DCS we would have alot better chance in court.

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