Davidson County Chancery Judge Carol McRoy questioned some of these redactions and the Deputy Attorney General in court explained that the redactions were required by HIPAA law. The Judge has ordered DCS to release the files in batches of 50 and in two court orders, has specified the identifying information that DCS needs to redact in order to protect the confidentiality of the information in the records.
In the first release of records last month, there were no such redactions. DCS has farmed out the redactions of the records to a local temp agency in the Nashville area and is paying a lot of money per hour for this job.
Having worked for DCS in the past, I have to question whether the money that is being spent on this litigation is necessary. What is it that these media groups and the Tennessean are really trying to accomplish? DCS is a bureaucracy and CPS workers have hundreds of cases they handle each year. They are human and mistakes are bound to be made. Ultimately, I don't think this litigation and scrutiny will change much about how the system operates. Instead of wasting all this money on litigation, how about giving DCS more money so they can hire more staff and have more professional trainings? Child welfare is tough work---no one ever wants to blame the families for allowing the children to enter state custody in the first place.
As I always say, the State makes the worst parent. Placing a child in state custody should always be a last resort.