DCS Commissioner’s Child Care Nonprofit Violated State Rules

The Knoxville nonprofit that Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Kate O’Day led for 10 years amassed numerous state rule violations before she left the agency, according to records obtained by The Tennessean.
Some of the violations that occurred while O’Day was CEO of Child and Family Tennessee were minor – personnel files missing dates that reference checks were completed — but others were far more serious.
On March 15, 2010, just nine months before becoming Gov. Bill Haslam’s pick to lead the state’s child welfare agency, O’Day was put on notice that DCS had “concerns for the safety and well-being of custodial youths placed at Child and Family Tennessee.” The nonprofit was a contractor hired by DCS to care for kids in foster care or residential treatment facilities.
DCS suspended all admissions to Child and Family, a step taken only for the most serious agency violations. In the case of Child and Family, those included inappropriately doling out group punishments for the actions of a single youth, missing medication records and a failure to focus on youths’ “needs, strengths and permanence,” among the eight serious findings outlined in a letter from DCS.
O’Day’s agency was one of three statewide that year whose admissions were frozen in 2010, but records obtained by the newspaper outline serious violations at the agency for annual inspections from 2006 to 2009. Pre-2006 inspection reports were not available.

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