Tennessee Abuse Registry – Open to the public.

New additions to DCS child-abuse registry becoming public, but with concerns

by Richard Locker
Knoxville News Sentinel


The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has begun sharing the names of people who it believes have committed child abuse or neglect — but who have not necessarily been charged — with an online, publicly accessible registry of abusers of adults maintained by the state Department of Health.

DCS has long maintained an internal, secret registry of people whom the agency has “substantiated” for child abuse or neglect but has, as required by state law, worked with such institutions as schools, child-care centers and foster-care providers to verify whether potential new employees are on the list. State law prohibits people on the DCS registry from being hired as teachers or child-care providers and from being foster parents.

But now, based on a new review of a 1987 law that predates the 1996 creation of DCS, the department will make available names from its registry for inclusion on the separate “abuse registry” maintained by the Health Department. That registry is, by law, on the Health Department’s website.

“We think it’s the right thing to do. DCS found this nearly 30-year-old statute and brought it to the attention of the Department of Health,” DCS spokesman Rob Johnson said.

But among child-welfare advocates inside and outside the agency, there are concerns about the new policy — partly because inclusion on the registries is usually permanent and partly because it could hamper the confidential nature of DCS’s work with families.

“First and foremost, nobody wants any vulnerable adult or child to be abused, so the intent of the Department of Health registry is to prevent that. People clearly belong on that (Health Department) registry who have abused adults,” said Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. “That’s different from some circumstances involving children. Clearly, people who have committed child sex abuse ought to be on the registry. Where it becomes grayer is circumstances involving intrafamily maltreatment but not sexual abuse — especially, for example, where young parents who may be under incredible pressures for a whole range of reasons do something stupid and wrong but are never likely to do it again. That’s different from a situation where an adult is abusing somebody in a facility.

“Once you go on that registry, it circumscribes job and other opportunities for the future. It could be a mom with severe postpartum depression who neglects a child before getting treatment.”

The DCS registry includes people who have been convicted on child-abuse or neglect charges but also people, including minors, who have never been convicted or even prosecuted in the courts.

Read the Full Story Here.

Health Impact News Editor Comments

We have been documenting on our MedicalKidnap.com website for many months now many stories of families who were accused of “abuse” simply because they disagreed with a doctor. The tragedy in these stories is that the parents are almost never afforded due process of the law, but have their children medically kidnapped and then struggle to get them back. To add insult to injury, they often have their names entered into a child abuse registry.

So now in the State of Tennessee, these parents who have never even been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one, will allegedly soon have their names in a public registry which will further violate their Constitutional rights to privacy by slandering their name, and in many cases, prevent them from keeping or obtaining employment.

Bill Haslam is the governor of Tennessee and can be contacted here.

The Tennessee Department of Health can be contacted here.

Medical Kidnap Story from Tennessee: