Lawmaker questions who is holding DCS accountable - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Lawmaker questions who is holding DCS accountable

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One state lawmaker is raising serious questions about who's holding the Department of Children Services accountable after the deaths of two Smyrna toddlers.

Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, has called for an outside investigation into how DCS handled the case. But, she said that's a challenge now because the department doesn't have as much oversight as they once did.

DCS said that's not the case, they are still monitored by an outside set of eyes.

As you may remember, this all became an issue last year when Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey disbanded the legislative committee that oversaw DCS.

Since then, Jones says the department has slipped and she questions whether or not the agency could have done more to protect two children who recently died after police say they were left in a hot car by their mother.

Savanna and Daniel died earlier this month after they were trapped in a hot car. Their mother, Samantha Harper, has been charged with their deaths. According to investigators, she told police she left them in the car and went back inside to sleep.

The Channel 4 I-Team uncovered DCS had investigated their mother before. In fact, according to a September 2011 LaVergne police report, the agency was alerted the toddlers may have been in danger nearly a year before they died.

DCS said legally they can't tell us what their findings were or whether they took any action.

Now, the agency is once again involved, this time they're doing their own investigation into how the case was handled.

Jones said when there was a full-time legislative oversight committee, the select committee on children and youth, DCS was forced to come before lawmakers to answer all their questions. Even though that committee no longer exists, DCS's Executive Director of Child Safety Carla Aaron said they are still held accountable by several outside agencies.

As for the deaths of Savanna and Daniel, DCS said they can't go into the details of that investigation other than to say it's ongoing, and they expect to have their findings by October 1.

DCS said there still is a legislative committee that looks at how they handle cases. It's called the Second Look Committee. But, they don't look at every case. It's only a random sampling.

We also called Ramsey about this story, his communications director Adam Kleinheider gave us this statement:

"Oversight is a critically important function of the legislature and has been improved by putting oversight authority in the more accountable standing committees. What the legislature removed last session was a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy that cost taxpayers over a million dollars a year, not the commitment to oversight. Oversight remains a mission of the legislature's standing committees."

Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Barbara Bush greets daughter in heaven in popular newspaper cartoon

    Barbara Bush greets daughter in heaven in popular newspaper cartoon

    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:50 PM EDT2018-04-19 17:50:43 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:50 PM EDT2018-04-19 17:50:43 GMT
    The cartoon depicts a reunion at the gates of heaven between Barbara Bush and her daughter Robin, who died at age 3. (Source: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)The cartoon depicts a reunion at the gates of heaven between Barbara Bush and her daughter Robin, who died at age 3. (Source: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    The cartoon depicts a reunion at the gates of heaven between Barbara Bush and her daughter Robin, who died at age 3.

    Full Story >

    The cartoon depicts a reunion at the gates of heaven between Barbara Bush and her daughter Robin, who died at age 3.

    Full Story >
  • Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

    Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

    Thursday, April 19 2018 12:52 AM EDT2018-04-19 04:52:34 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:47 PM EDT2018-04-19 17:47:18 GMT
    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during a working lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during a working lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.

    "If I think that if it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful we're not going to go. If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful I will respectfully leave the meeting," Trump told a news conference.

    Full Story >

    "If I think that if it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful we're not going to go. If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful I will respectfully leave the meeting," Trump told a news conference.

    Full Story >
  • Minnesota prosecutor won't file charges in Prince's death

    Minnesota prosecutor won't file charges in Prince's death

    Thursday, April 19 2018 12:42 AM EDT2018-04-19 04:42:26 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:44 PM EDT2018-04-19 17:44:22 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007 file photo, Prince performs during halftime of the Super Bowl XLI football game in Miami. Minnesota prosecutors are planning an announcement Thursday, April 19, 2018, in their two-year investi...(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007 file photo, Prince performs during halftime of the Super Bowl XLI football game in Miami. Minnesota prosecutors are planning an announcement Thursday, April 19, 2018, in their two-year investi...

    A two-year probe into the overdose death of music superstar Prince is reaching a critical stage as a county prosecutor reveals whether criminal charges will be filed.

    Full Story >

    A two-year probe into the overdose death of music superstar Prince is reaching a critical stage as a county prosecutor reveals whether criminal charges will be filed.

    Full Story >
Powered by Frankly