DCS Commissioner Tours SE Tennessee Facilities

Press Release from the State of TN DCS, August 18, 2011:

Children and Families Issues Are Matters Of The Heart

NASHVILLE -– Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) Commissioner Kathryn “Kate” O’Day, Commissioner of Department of Children’s Services, just has spent several days this week touring DCS facilities in Bradley and McMinn counties and meeting with employees, completed a two-day tour of Bradley and McMinn County visiting employees of Department of Children’s Services (DCS) offices.

“DCS is constantly working to improve to meet the needs of Tennesseans,” O’Day said. “Our employees are on the front lines of dealing with the serious issues that impact our children, and they can give me the best feedback on what processes and procedures are, or are not, working,” she added, “I’m very impressed by the commitment and professionalism exhibited by the employees at the McMinn and Bradley county offices.”

Additionally, she Local legislators joined the commissioner for these meetings to listen to the employees’ thoughts and concerns. They included Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland), Rep. John Forgety (R-Athens) and Rep. Eric Watson (R-Cleveland). She also met with David Pierce, Ddirector of McMinn County Schools , and staff and toured the Bradley County Juvenile Justice Center.

Commissioner O ’Day also visited with Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Representative Kevin Brooks (R- Cleveland), Representative John Forgety (R-Athens), and Representative Eric Watson (R-Cleveland). The legislators accompanied the Commissioner to their respective district’s DCS county office in order to talk with and listen to DCS state employees’ concerns and thoughts.  Brooks, vice-chairman of the Children and Family Affairs Committee, told the employees that he would share what he had learned with other members of the committee so they would have an idea of what he was able to learn from the meetings. “This has been a great experience for me, personally,” said Brooks. “The Committee deals with matters of the heart and these facilities carry out that work.”

The purpose of the meetings wasere designed to inform the Ccommissioner about real time problems the offices are facing so the Ddepartment can address the issues and ensure Tennesseans are receiving the high quality service they expect to receive. The Commissioner asked DCS employees questions like, “What are we doing right?” and, “What can we do better?”

“DCS provides an invaluable service to Tennesseans and we want to make sure we are constantly improving and meeting the needs of our citizens,” said Commissioner O’Day. “These workers are on the front lines and can give me the best feedback for what processes or procedures are, or are not, working.” She added, “I’m very impressed by the professionalism exhibited by the employees at the McMinn and Bradley county DCS offices.” The goal of reaching excellence in child welfare even with the current challenging economy can be done. O’Day often says “We have got to know what we are after, what works and get it right the FIRST time.”

Representative Kevin Brooks, vice-chair of the Children and Family Affairs Committee, told the employees that he wished the Committee could see and hear what he was witnessing. “This has been a great experience for me, personally,” he said. “The Committee deals with matters of the heart and these facilities carry out that work,” he said.