The State Makes A Poor Parent Says New Tennessee DCS Commissioner

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

“The state makes a poor parent,” said new Tennessee DCS Commissioner Margie Quin at a joint committee hearing on December 14, 2022. Amidst three hours of dialog about the two audit reports on the agency’s shortcomings, the tenth commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services opined relentlessly on how her administration will do better.

The dismal December 2022 report revealed that the agency suffers from a chronic problem of inappropriate placements and ongoing care of children. The report cited DCS for housing children in DCS offices; sleeping on the floor and on mats with little supervision. In summary, DCS takes kids from families that they can’t take care of.

TFACTS, the case management software utilized by DCS, was politely referred to as a “legacy” system when in fact it is cumbersome and outdated. The DCS staff reported to legislators that they had to create their own Excel spreadsheets to track available placements for children that were abruptly removed from their homes. Representative John Ragan demanded that this problem be addressed quickly and told Quin that he personally knew engineers that work with supercomputers in Oak Ridge that would gladly take a contract to build a new program. 

The December 2022 report follows a report released just two years prior. In December 2020, the Comptroller’s report cited DCS for failure to hire competent leadership, failure to document supervisory review of case workers, failure to timely complete investigation tasks, failure to maintain licensing documentation, and several other findings related to the safety of children in the custody of the State.  

In the December 2020 report, case workers were asked about their work conditions. Staff reported feeling unappreciated and drained due to long work hours, that leadership focused on numbers rather than helping families, and that they were reluctant to bring concerns to leadership for fear they wouldn’t be heard.

One respondent said, “Central office is very punitive towards mistakes, even when the policy is unclear to frontline supervisors and staff. Many of the policies have changed monthly without informing staff. Concerns and challenges to perform certain policies effectively that have changed are ignored. Most ideas are developed in the Central Office despite the disconnect with performing the actual duties. Ideas are rejected despite the years of experience of the team and staff.” 

Another said, “DCS as a whole is slow to change and upper management does not like to be challenged. TFACTS has improved since its inception but is still a cumbersome program that has to have other programs to complement it. There are a lot of ways to improve but it goes up to the Safety Circle and comes back down. There needs to be a team that works on inefficiencies… Each single thing needs to be scrutinized. I have yet to find someone in this organization that knows the BEST way to work and close a case efficiently.”  

One DCS employee likened working for the agency to being in a toxic relationship. “Executive leadership is scary. They are stressed out and they take it out on staff. It is like being in a domestic violence relationship. You have good days, and those are great. But when you have bad days… they are really bad, and you never know what the trigger is. The power and control cycle  is frighteningly similar.”

More than one respondent pointed out that leadership appeared to be more politically motivated than concerned with the best interests of the children placed in the state’s care.

“Executive leadership within Central Office seem to be more concerned with appearances than with best practice,” read one response. “Decisions within this administration appear to be more politically motivated than what is in the best interest of the children.”

Another response stated, “My supervisor and the chief of staff scrutinize my team’s and my work, ensuring to point out every minute flaw… They and the commissioner are hyper focused on doing things for the purpose of preventing audit findings and attention from the legislators, not in doing things for the reasons of child safety or good child welfare practice.”

DCS was created in 1996 and is on its tenth commissioner. With an average of 2 ½ years for each leadership role, there is not a single commissioner that has produced a glowing audit from the Comptroller’s office in spite of the ever increasing budget cast on taxpayers under the mantra of “protecting children”. 

Watch for our next report: Tennessee DCS – A History of Failures

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

6 thoughts on “The State Makes A Poor Parent Says New Tennessee DCS Commissioner

  • January 4, 2023 at 9:22 pm

    when the states start talking about the reunification of children and the visitation not being allowed by parents or family member at all inour case for 3 full years, not one visit of 5 disabled kids. With the bonus money only given when the kids are adopted no money t reunify families or give kids to kingship care CPS makes no effort to do anything but adoption, not to reunify family. that would be the starting point of reunify families as is their job My opinion, of course the things that CPS does with the lies and not having the Dr s authority to say when a child is abused or neglect . Its When they take kids and have the nerve to Diagnosis like a Dr thats insulting . I or a blind person could do that when your agenda is to take kid as inventory to keep up your title 4 e funding coming in

  • January 5, 2023 at 6:40 am

    The TN Dept of Children Services and the rest of the bunch always have excuses. Outdated computer software??? Really now!! They always have outdated software, nothing on there Web site has been updated. Look what they did purposely with the unemployment claims. Every other state had the new software by April 2020, Tennessee still did nothing to correct the problem until a year later when we the Self Employed we’re denied our claim that came from the federal government. Stop with the pity party. This is how you save money for the state so you can be awarded the $100,000 prize money on the best department that saved the state money. Then also includes Federal money that came in here that’s the reason why so many people are being denied assistance because the department think it’s their money and they’ll do whatever they can to win that money second prize is what $50,000 of the taxpayer dollars the last time you updated anything on your website was I believe 2017 that’s what it keeps on showing or you can’t even get into the website at all it gives you an error so you know exactly what you’re doing and you know that these programs in software is old and you guys didn’t do anything about it with all this money that comes into our state and you sit on it and spend the money somewhere else. Just look at the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce go look at their bank account and all the money that they got in for the unemployment situation and see where all that money went out it didn’t even go to half of the people that it was supposed to go to why would the labor department cut a check for instance the state of Georgia for so much amount of money in reference child support enforcement. Or there was one check written out to the software company for like $242,000 and we didn’t even have the program installed yet they sat on it to win unemployment was almost over with and they were cutting the people off and the people that were independent contractors and self-employed didn’t get a dime because they were using the old software that’s how they got away with it not paying the Federal people they’re unemployment for being self-employed in independent contractors that’s where the money went to so we got ripped off as always and they took our money that’s why they went into the phone. You know Tennessee is becoming a real big joke everybody can see the corruption money missing it’s obvious and now this department of Children Services that are not get away with what they have done to these children cuz they knew exactly what they were doing they’re lying like they’re good at doing and they have damaged many families and children because of their abuse and neglect and stealing children out of their homes when they weren’t supposed to even be gone this is what they are trained to do and they need to pay restitution to families that’s the only way they will serve their punishment and we the parents should demand this money and making them pay they got money and their bank account the Department of Children Services the last time we checked it was over close to 10 million dollars they have money in there to pay the family members and these children for the pain and suffering that they have caused we can file the tort law and that is the United States code 42 section 1983 if anyone wants to look it up and you can file it through the state but I wouldn’t go through the state here cuz they’re so corrupt I would file it through the Federal court system because this is a federal matter. And how the judges and this department ruined an attorney’s reputation with lies and false information and ruin This woman’s career because of what they have done.

  • January 5, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    Under The Constitution of The United States Of America: “No man who is in a position of authority over them is above the law. Those who have been victimized have the real ability to seek civil and criminal punishment against those who use the authority of the state to act outside the law with impunity.”Funded with my/our hard earned dollars, Child Protection Services (TNDCS) has taken absolute power with no regard to The Constitution of the United States of America. Tennessean’s petitions to our elected representatives at the local, state, and federal levels are ignored, never answered, and therefore, are never resolved. .This problem affects families in every city, and in every state spanning our entire nation. Violations occur in secret and are, (more often than not) upheld in Family Courts.The unspeakable acts of Child Protection Services and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services often result in American Parents and children paying the ultimate price, their loss of each other.TNDCS is able to steal children simply because Tennessean’s, for the most part, do not understand their rights.Under the Constitution of the United States of America Parents have the right to not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, including medical treatment decisions.However, our parental rights were “terminated” when the TNDCS agent removed our children from their home. We were then denied the right to be present at interviews and examinations and were not allowed to speak with the children. Visitations (when granted) were at supervised places where my child and I were not allowed to talk about TNDCS.I have been denied my rights to my own children before due process of law has occurred. Effectively I have been proven guilty before having had the chance to prove myself innocent.
    For me, it has been over 3 years with no probable cause hearing (preliminary hearing) and no waiver there of…No adjudicatory hearing and no waiver thereof. Parental alienation, collusion, undue influences, and more. How is this in the best interests of children?
    The TN Government should be ashamed of placing federal proceeds added to the state budget over the protections seciured by law of one or all of its resident family units….Greed!

  • January 5, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    TNDCS is low on help because they are low on morals and ethics….simple and true.

  • January 6, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    Tennessee T-FACTS system was a disaster from day one. Before it was a disaster in Tennessee, it was a disaster in Ohio. Why then commissioner Viola Miller contracted with the software company with a history of building defective systems is beyond comprehension. By the way, this is presently a $125,000,000 fiasco, and the cost is continuing to rise.
    Like mentioned earlier, there is no teamwork at DCS, central office bureaucrats and the so-called leadership does not work together with the field people. Field people often refer to the management as gotcha goons. Therefore, morale is in the gutter.
    Also, DCS continuing to ask for money is becoming tiresome. As I said earlier, with approximately a billion-dollar budget, and a daily average count of 8500 children in custody, this gives approximately of $117,000 spent per child, per year. Where is all the money going? Also, why does DCS need about 10 layers of management and such a huge bureaucracy?

  • January 28, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    If you are falsely accused, you damn well better get the best defense lawyer you can afford
    TN DCS has Nothing on their site about being falsely accused. They automatically presume you are guilty!


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