A teenage girl in a pink hoodie and jeans slept restlessly in a downtown Nashville office, with no pillow, sheet, blanket, mattress or pad separating her from the carpeted floor.
Another teen slept directly on the floor, too, huddled under a single blanket. A few feet away, two elementary-school-age kidsSleep head to toe onA single twin mattress. Three other teens were also asleep inThe room is filled with piles of kids’ clothing, a crib, and toysLined the walls with trash and at most one dirty diaper.
Seven total kids inThe custodyYou can find the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services were forced toSpend the night in officeSpace at the Davy Crockett Tower inDowntown Nashville on July 16 — a Friday night — inA captured instance onvideo and obtained from the Tennessee Lookout.
Children are usually taken into the home. custody toDCS investigates any allegations of abuse or neglect to ensure their safety. KidsEnter custodyTrauma from abuse, trauma from being removed from familiar surroundings, and often a feeling of powerlessness and fear about their future are all examples of trauma.
Take kids to sleepWith strangers inAn officeThe failure to provide essential comforts is a failure of the stateagency toLive up toIts most basic duties are listed below toA DCS caseworker for many years requested anonymity to avoid drawing attention. to the department’s treatment of children result inFire.
“Being unable to find a placement was an ongoing problem before the pandemic,”The caseworker stated. “It’s gotten much worse. The number of kids sleeping in offices has never been this bad.”
The caseworker stated DCS had failed toProvide enough support for kidsTaken into custody — foster parents, or temporary and more appropriate spaces, — as the pandemic impacted the ongoing willingness of foster parents to take in children. When kidsHave toStay inOffices, caseworkers toYou can also stay with them to find your own child care arrangements. toThe caseworker stated that the job is already stressful and added to the stress.
Jennifer Donnals spokeswoman for department said Friday that it was “not a violation of policy for children to stay in DCS offices during the nighttime hours until an appropriate placement is found.” In these instances, “dedicated staff provide a safe environment until an appropriate placement is found,”She said.
“The reality is that children frequently come in to care late in the evening, and it can take several hours to find them appropriate placements in foster homes or treatment facilities, especially when working with sibling groups or teenagers. . . We have accommodations in our offices to help provide comfort to children in these temporary situations, including blankets, cots and air mattresses, food, toys and other supplies.”
Jennifer Donnals, spokeswoman for The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, said it is “not a violation of policy for children to stay in DCS offices during the nighttime hours until an appropriate placement is found,”But they didn’t address how often kids taken into custodyAre you sleeping? in stateOffices
Donnals didn’t address any other questions, such as how often she was asked. kids taken into custodyAre you sleeping? in stateOffices
A space for children in Nashville awaiting placements inFoster care is being closed for renovation inDonnals said July. Sunday saw the Davidson County DCS Resource Linkage Office reopen. This was made possible by donations from The Byard Family Legacy Fund. TennesseeKevin Byard is a Titans player.
During renovations “children were brought to the Davy Crockett office space more often,”Donnals said.
The department didn’t answer questions about whether Jennifer Nichols, DCS chief, and other leaders of the agency knew that kidsAre you sleeping? in state officeBuildings
Donnals did nothing to address the circumstances of the little girl inThe pink hoodie on video sleeping directly onThe floor was missing the comfort items she described. This included a blanket, cot or air mattress. inScreen shots shared last week with the department.
There are about 9,000 kids in state custodySpots are available to anyone who is in need of a foster parent at any given moment. inA residential treatment facility or placement with friends or family.
The agency is similar to its counterparts inOther states have a history of not providing adequate care. to kids onIts watch. The watch can be worn by 2,000 people. stateIt was subject to 17 years of court-ordered oversight over its treatment. kidsComing into custody due to “systemic failure to protect Tennessee’s most vulnerable children and to provide them with legally required services.”
The lawsuit was prompted kids being placed inAfter being taken into, unsuitable spaces are custody. Court oversight ended in2017.