DCS Wants $32K for More Child Death Records

The Department of Children’s Services said this week that it will charge an estimated $34,952 to produce public records of children who died or nearly died during the past 11 months after having some contact with the child welfare agency, reports The Tennessean.
It is the latest five-figure price tag DCS has attached to releasing records and comes as part of an ongoing legal battle between the agency and a coalition of the state’s news organizations. Led by The Tennessean, the coalition filed suit against DCS in December. The newspaper and DCS return to court today.
The new charges emerged Wednesday after the newspaper requested that DCS produce more recent files. The Tennessean requested DCS provide records for children who died or nearly died between July 2012 and May 2013.
Calling it a new request “not subject to the Court’s order,” DCS chief attorney Doug Dimond noted in a letter that it would turn over those records only after The Tennessean agreed to pay the nearly $34,952 estimate for records of child deaths and near deaths in an 11-month span — an estimate similar an earlier DCS effort to charge $32,225 for records that covered a much larger, 3½-year time period.
In April, Chancery Court Judge Carol McCoy ordered DCS to produce records at a cost of no more than 50 cents per copy, setting aside DCS’ efforts to charge $32,225 for records.
Previously DCS had set the price tag at $55,584 for the same records.

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