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DCS says doing better job reporting child deaths

December 16th, 2013 8:53 am by Associated Press

DCS says doing better job reporting child deaths

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Children's Services says it's doing a better job reporting child deaths.

The Tennessean reports that several DCS officials, including Commissioner Jim Henry, recently testified before the state Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

The agency first fell under scrutiny more than a year ago over its inconsistent reporting of child deaths.

But DCS officials told lawmakers that beginning next year they will immediately report a child's death to the public by giving out the age, gender and history of DCS involvement. The agency will then follow up with a report of whether abuse or neglect was found in the death, before ultimately posting redacted copies of the investigation files once its investigation has closed.

The agency has already begun posting records related to child death investigations on its website.

The move is a sharp contrast to the agency's stance a year ago, when it refused to make any such records public.

In response, The Tennessean and other media groups filed suit seeking the records. A judge ordered the agency in April to turn over the records and a court battle is continuing over the cost of the documents.

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