Hawkins Foster Care Review Board to meet in courthouse because of security concerns

Jeff Bobo • May 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County’s Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) will be using a conference room in the Justice Center from now on so that it can utilize the metal detectors and sheriff’s deputies for security during potentially volatile hearings.

The county commission’s Buildings Committee agreed Tuesday to reserve the conference room located beside the county court clerk’s office on the courtroom side of the Justice Center for the FCRB when it holds its monthly meetings on the second Friday of every month.

The request was made by Juvenile Judge Daniel Boyd, who said there are security concerns at the Health Department building in Rogersville, where the FCRB has been meeting.

“We deal with cases involving parents who have several different issues that they’re facing,” Boyd said. “Some have mental health issues. Some have mainly drug issues. They’ve had some issues where parents got a little bit out of control.”

Boyd added, “When the court system gets involved, it’s an emotionally charged situation already. When you have parents who have issues like mental health or drug and alcohol problems, security and safety is one of my concerns.”

Boyd noted that anyone who enters the Justice Center has to go through the metal detector and aren’t permitted to bring in weapons.

There is always at least one sheriff’s deputy watching the lobby area, and usually two.

The 15-member FCRB consists of citizens, school faculty members and administrators and court staff. Among its tasks are to make sure parents do what is required of them by the Department of Children’s Services to regain custody of their children.

Buildings Committee Chairman Darrell Gilliam said, “My wife and I were foster parents for 18 years, and I agree with Mr. Boyd. They need a good place to meet where they can feel safe.”

Alana Roberts, county buildings manager, told the committee that conference room is often reserved by attorneys for mediations or depositions. When court is in session, it’s not uncommon for attorneys to take their clients into that room for an impromptu conference if the room is empty.

The Buildings Committee agreed that the conference room will be reserved for the FCRB on the second Friday of every month until further notice.

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