The Department of Children’s Services will now post on its website documents relating to its internal investigations into the deaths and near deaths of children.
The agency already has posted more than 3,600 pages of documents relating to the deaths or injuries suffered by 64 children in Tennessee during the last half of 2012. All identifying information has been redacted. The documents are available at www.tn.gov/youth/childsafety/data2012.html .
Allowing the public to freely access the records, and at no cost, represents a sharp reversal from the agency’s position one year ago, when officials refused to make public any records related to child deaths or near deaths.
The Tennessean, joined by a coalition of 12 media groups across the state, filed suit against DCS in December seeking records of children who had died or nearly died after being reported to DCS for suspicions of abuse or neglect between January 2009 and July 2012.