The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services today announced plans to merge CPS services and investigations under one division called the Office of Child Safety.
“This reorganization incorporates several other changes, which I believe are incredibly important to ensuring child safety and developing a more robust protection and prevention program,” DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said in an email to DCS employees. “It realigns staff to respond to CPS reports with a sense of urgency, will allow the department to allocate resources more efficiently, and will manage child protection in a more comprehensive manner. It also lays the foundation for the reform efforts underway with the Families First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).”
The reorganization will roll out first as a pilot program in Shelby County with plans to eventually expand statewide.
“We applaud Commissioner Nichols for her willingness to
listen to frontline DCS caseworkers and her efforts to communicate openly with
her staff,” TSEA Executive Director Randy Stamps said. “Commissioner
Nichols personally invited me to Memphis for this announcement, and our
association and all state employees appreciate the Commissioner’s efforts to
ensure state employees have a seat at the table.”
In the letter to employees, Commissioner Nichols also
indicated her department would closely monitor caseloads and workflow during
this pilot program and would adjust accordingly before further implementing the
TSEA will also monitor the pilot program closely and will keep you informed as the program develops.