Four Shelby County children die in DCS custody - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Four Shelby County children die in DCS custody

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MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC-TV) -The Tennessee Department of Children's Services released grim new details about dozens of children's deaths while in state custody, with some happening in Shelby County.

The report is more than a hundred pages long, but only a page or two addresses how and why dozens of children in Tennessee died while in the care of the Department of Children's Services.
 
In a 133 page report the Department of Children's Services answered questions posed by a group of Tennessee Democratic Legislators.

One of the most pressing questions was how and why did children die while in DCS care.

The agency's response to legislators was not in great detail. 

It lists where 25 children died while in their custody between 2011 and 2012:
  • Ten were in private provider or agency homes
  • Six were in DCS resource homes
  • Five died at a hospital
  • One died in a Youth Development Center
  • Another died in a county adult jail
  • One was on a trial home visit with a biological family
  • Another was a runaway
The reports revealed four of those deaths were in Shelby County.

DCS did not provide a county by county breakdown in their report. Lawmakers said that four Shelby County children died while in DCS custody between 2011 and 2012, but none of them were a result of neglect or abuse.

The findings were released after a chancery court judge ruled in favor of the Tennessean newspaper whose repeated requests to DCS for specific details were denied.

DCS said other data is still being verified. 
    
More details will be coming. Legislators will be asking more specific questions during three days of hearings scheduled with the agency's interim director next week.

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