DCS hiring practices come under fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DCS hiring practices come under fire

Mid-South lawmakers say changes must be made to the hiring practice at the Department of Children Services. It comes of the heels of an investigation into a case worker accused of sexual battery against a 14-year old girl in foster care. The legislators we talked with are outraged over the situation. They say they plan to find out exactly who is responsible and make sure it never happens again. Charles Sharp, a DCS social worker, behind bars, accused of sexual battery involving a 14-year-old foster child, is the latest problem in a long line of problems at the state office. Sharp, who has a criminal record, should never have been hired by the Department of Children's Services. Rep. Kathryn Bowers said, "I'm very, very concerned about that, and it was somewhat shocking and alarming to me to know that we had someone and had not done the proper background checks." State Representative John Deberry, who heads the Children and Family Affairs Committee of the legislature said he has talked with the DCS commissioner about the problem. He said the explanation is it was just a breakdown in the system. Rep. John Deberry said, "She assures me it's going to be dealt with and it's going to be dealt with immediately and effectively." The Department of Children's Services has been a troubled agency almost from its inception in 1996. There have been six commissioners, some of them interim, who have served longer than the actual appointed commissioners Representatives Deberry and Bowers say they plan to meet further with DCS officials to make sure the rules and regulations put in place recently to safeguard against problems are strictly enforced. Another 14-year-old child has accused Charles Sharp of sexual battery. Police are investigating, but he has not been charged in that case.
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