Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wear BLUE Friday, April 1st for Child Abuse Prevention

First Lady Crissy Haslam will be launching the Pinwheels for Prevention honoring Child Abuse Prevention Month by planting a pinwheel garden at the Tennessee State Capitol.

Mrs. Haslam will be showing her support for Child Abuse Prevention Month and children across the state and we would love to have each of you participate.

The event will be held at the Tennessee State Capitol East Gardens April 5 2011 at 10:30 am.

In the unlikely event of rain we will be inside the capitol.

We hope to see you all there!

Please be sure to check out the calendar of activities on our webpage to see other Child Abuse Prevention month events happening across the state.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Walk Me Home Event-Nashville

Dear DCS staff/ Administration and support staff:

The Fourth Annual WALK ME HOME event will held this year on May 14, 2011 from 8 am- 12 noon at Bi-Centennial Mall in downtown Nashville.  This is a great family event; there will be local entertainment, kid activities, 3.1 mile walk, refreshments and much more.

We are encouraging you to form a team to support this wonderful Event.

You may know a Corporation, church, agency or other entity that would be willing to become a WALK ME HOME sponsor.  If so please contact Odessa Krech at Central office 615-253-6906 or at email , Anything you can do to get the word out about the Middle TN/Nashville WALK is greatly appreciated.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in the planning phase of the WALK please contact Odessa ASAP so you can receive meeting notifications.

Please join us on May 14, 2011 with your team to WALK ME HOME.

Debbie Miller to lead department's Interdependent Living program.

Effective April 1, Debbie Miller be heading the department's Interdependent Living program.

The program serves the older children in state custody, those who need to develop skills for a successful transition to adulthood.  Ms Miller will be responsible for implementing the Chafee program, as well as Fostering Connections and supporting youth through post-secondary education and/or trade schools.  A significant section of the Brian A. Settlement includes the Interdependent Living program. Strengthening and improving the IL program is critical to the department's ability to exiting the lawsuit.

In addition, Ms. Miller will be responsible for working on other special projects related to Education or Health as assigned by the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner of Protection and Permanency.

Ms. Miller has more than 30 years management experience in areas of public policy, child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice and grant administration.  She has extensive background in public policy issues which affect families and children with a strong commitment to evidence-based practice, family-centered services and consumer input.

Ms. Miller has proven leadership in guiding agencies and programs through transition. She is currently employed at Vanderbilt University as Director of Child and Family Policy Center. Previous employment includes Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, State of Tennessee Board of Paroles, Institute for Children’s Resources and Madison County Group Home.

Ms. Miller has a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching and postgraduate work in Administration and Supervision from the University of Memphis  and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Mississippi.

Community involvement includes Chair of the Davidson County Foster Care Review Boards 8 and 12; Board of Directors, Bethlehem Centers of Nashville;  Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; Board of Directors, Exchange Club Family Centers, and past involvement with the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare, Adventure Science Center and Girl Scout Troop 76.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Note About the Governor's Budget Proposal

Tonight in his State of the State address, Governor Haslam called on Tennessee government to transform the way it does business. We are not alone; in these economic times, this charge is being made to governments everywhere and at every level.

Governor Haslam has stressed that we must do everything we can to continue to deliver services to Tennessee’s citizens while improving efficiency. To succeed, we will have to keep the outcomes that we we seek for our clients first and foremost in our priorities. At the same time, we have to find ways to save on costs.

The budget proposal calls for closing the seven Juvenile Justice group homes. If implemented today, this would mean that 74 people would lose their positions at DCS. An additional 5 filled positions are to be reduced in Administration. The actual numbers of staff displaced will likely be much lower by the time this plan would be implemented.

The first priority is to ensure that there is no reduction in the services that bring good outcomes to our kids. This proposal accomplishes just that.

The group homes currently provide services that are also delivered by our network of private providers. The services are parallel and duplicate one another. Under this plan, the youth will continue to get the services that they require, while we conserve resources for other uses.

Finding this way to reduce costs has some significant advantages for our ability to serve our clients. This budget proposal would allow us to maintain more staff positions in the Youth Development Centers, as well as the Juvenile Justice Coordinators in the Regions. It preserves valued grants to courts and communities for another year, as well as community-based services for juvenile justice youth and their families. It also ensures that we have the resources we need to stay on track with the progress we have made towards a successful exit from Brian A.

We know that this is difficult news for many of you to hear. We are committed to doing all that we can to help people find other positions for which they are qualified in state government or elsewhere. We will keep you posted on the latest developments as the budget begins to move through the legislature.

The work does not end with tonight’s budget proposal. I ask you to join me in thinking of new ways of meeting the outcomes of our mission, while ensuring maximum efficiency in our use of resources. Thanks to everyone, for all of the hard work you do on behalf of Tennessee’s children and families.

Commissioner Kate O'Day

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Doug Dimond Coming to DCS as General Counsel

Effective April 10, Doug Dimond will become the new general counsel for the Department of Children's Services.

DCS is place that is already very familiar to him: As a senior counsel in the state Attorney General's office, he has represented DCS in state and federal courts.

Dimond began his professional life in 1980 as a small businessman operating a gourmet foods business in New England.  He graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University in 1992 and earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1996.

Upon graduation from law school, he joined the Tennessee Attorney General's Office, where he currently serves as Senior Counsel.  In 2005, he received the Office’s highest recognition, the William M. Leech, Jr. Award.

As lead counsel in Brian A., a federal civil rights class action brought on behalf of Tennessee's foster children, he was instrumental in negotiating the original settlement and representing the department in subsequent efforts aimed at improving services to thousands of foster children statewide.

He has also handled scores of appeals in the Tennessee Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Monday, March 7, 2011

LeAnne Stribley Takes a Top Post at DCS

LeAnne Stribley is the department's new Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Training.

LeAnne  has over 20 years of executive experience with both public and private corporations and has been responsible for $10 Million to $10 Billion in revenues. These companies have included high growth and established companies, start-up ventures, distressed and Chapter 11 companies and diverse product and service industries.

She has comprehensive and in-depth experience across accounting, finance, treasury, IS, procurement, facilities and security functions.  She has very strong experience in leading and implementing operations planning, capital rationing, service level agreements, performance management, balanced scorecard and pay-for-performance systems.

While at Tennessee Valley Authority she held the position of Executive Vice President for Administration, Senior Vice President for Finance and Controller and Vice President for Finance.  As Executive Vice President, she had full responsibility for leadership of Information Services, Procurement, Facilities and TVA Police organizations with 2,000 employees and 200 contractors.  The annual budget responsibility was over $250 million.  As Senior Vice President she assumed the additional role of Controller with responsibility for all accounting and financial reporting, billing and accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and budgeting in addition to financial analysis, long-range financial planning, credit, and risk management.

LeAnne was a member of the TVA Management Committee, Risk Management Committee, Disclosure Control Committee, Executive Learning Council and Strategy Council.

In addition to TVA, she has worked in top management positions for Travel Resources Group, the LTV Corporation, IdleAire, Inc. and Pictures and More.

LeAnne graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas Wesleyan University with a BBA in accounting.  She has served on the Board of Directors for Leadership Knoxville, Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation, YWC, Child and Family Tennessee, Historic Tennessee Theatre and the United Way.  She was recipient of the YWCA Tribute to Women Award in Business and Government.