WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
February 6, 2013
There is a call for change as a new person takes over Tennessee's Department of Children's Services.
Lawmakers tell interim commissioner Jim Henry that it's time to face the "brutal facts of reality."
It is only his second day on the job, and interim DCS commissioner Jim Henry is called before state lawmakers.
"I'll attack these problems as they exist," says Jim Henry.
The problems plaguing the child welfare agency are well known.
151 children have died in the last three years. There's a faulty data system that's not tracking kids in custody, and a child abuse hotline unable to handle all calls.
Lawmakers say problems have existed for years and it's time to deal with them.
"I just ask the department to look at their procedures, and if they need to be changed, change them," says Sen. Joey Hensley, (R) Hohenwald.
"And the idea that we can fix the problems within this agency without unearthing some very painful things is just not reality," says Sen. Bo Watson, (R) Hixson.
Henry tells the committee that he will bring advocates and providers together to understand the issues and make corrections.
"Being second best in anything is not acceptable. We strive for excellence in Tennessee and we accept nothing short," says Henry.
Henry takes over for former commissioner Kate O'Day who resigned on Tuesday.
Governor Haslam says he has confidence in Henry.
"He understands state government. He understands dealing with the vulnerable population that is DCS. He understands how the provider community works as well," says Governor Haslam.
Henry says he accepts the challenge and is looking forward to it.
"We're not looking to change the world, just make the situation with kids where they're healthy, and also to where they're protected, and where we can get them on the right track in life," says Jim Henry.
Commissioner Henry says he's not just babysitting DCS until a new commissioner arrives. He wants to fix any problems right now.
Jim Henry tells reporters that he wants to have a department that's open, and he welcomes media scrutiny as he makes improvements.
For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn
Wednesday, February 6 2013, 06:55 PM CST
Houston brother will be his own attorney in court
June 18, 2013 13:02 GMT
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A Roane County man will face federal gun violation charges next month without an attorney.
The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/17VlXpM ) reported Rocky Joe Houston will represent himself on a charge of possession of a gun by a felon.
The charge came after Houston earlier represented himself in state court on charges stemming from a police chase. He was convicted of evading arrest and reckless endangerment.
Houston and his brother, Leon Houston, were tried, but not convicted, in the 2006 shooting deaths of a Roane County deputy and his ride-along companion.
In federal court, Rocky Joe Houston is claiming the officer who charged him with the felony had no legal authority.
Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com
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