Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday defended the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the state’s decision to resist open-records requests from a coalition of news organizations demanding access to agency files.
“This isn’t a case of us trying to withhold information,” Haslam told reporters during a news conference at the Capitol. “We have a responsibility to protect children and a lot of the way that they are wanting that information I don’t think would do that.”
A group of television stations and newspapers were denied a formal request to examine records relating to the deaths of numerous children DCS had contact with or whose circumstances had at some point been reported to the department. Lawyers for the state refused the media’s petition, saying state and federal laws prevent them from releasing the information requested.