WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
February 5, 2012
A big shakeup in Tennessee state government as the leader of the Department of Children's Services resigns.
Commissioner Kate O'Day has been criticized for a number of issues, including child deaths.
Many believe it is time to fix problems.
For months now the Department of Children's Services has been under intense scrutiny.
Now Kate O'Day has left her post as Commissioner saying she had become more of a focus than the children the department serves.
"The good thing is that Commissioner O'Day has resigned. The bad thing is that so many children had to die before we got to this point," says Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville.
The department has released information on 151 children who have died over the past three years. Some of the children were living in state custody, others had been investigated by DCS prior to their deaths.
State Representative Sherry Jones has criticized O'Day's leadership.
"DCS has just gotten so far out of control under this Commissioner that we've got to come back, and we've got to make children our priority," says Rep. Jones.
18 year old Matt Madlock has been in and out of state custody for the last four years.
"Overall I can say that DCS has saved my life," says Madlock.
Madlock acknowledges there are problems with the agency, and he believes DCS needs more oversight.
"They need to be watched because with any government agency there needs to be some type of policing," says Madlock.
State lawmakers still have many questions for DCS administrators, and they want to see problems solved.
"Now Governor Haslam has a chance to rebuild this department. It has been in shambles," says Sen. Jim Summerville, (R) Dickson.
Republican Senator Jim Summerville was one of the first to call for O'Day's resignation. He says children must be safe.
"That's the bottom line, taking care of the ones who cannot take care or speak for themselves," says Sen. Summerville.
DCS Administrators will face some tough questions from lawmakers on Wednesday.
Senior level officials will appear before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee at 11 a.m.
Governor Bill Haslam has named Jim Henry as DCS interim Commissioner. Henry is currently the commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He will continue overseeing that department as well.
For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn
Tuesday, February 5 2013, 11:23 PM CST
Hungry TennCare eating more of state budget
May 24, 2013 16:56 GMT
JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) -- State Treasurer David Lillard says expanding health care costs could absorb funding the state used to spend on other needs.
The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/16eqTpT ) reported Lillard talked about the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act on Tennessee finances as he spoke to the West Tennessee Association of Health Underwriters on Thursday.
Lillard noted the state budget that goes into effect July 1 contains $391 million in new revenue and more than $300 million of that will be consumed by TennCare.
Lillard said support for higher education could further erode as a result. In 1990, state revenue funded more than half the cost of state universities. That percentage has already declined to about 38 percent and could be further reduced.
Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com
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