Lawmaker: DCS lied to foster family about violent teen’s past - WSMV News 4

Lawmaker: DCS lied to foster family about violent teen’s past

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Internal DCS records indicate the violent history of a teenager was not disclosed to a foster family who took him in.

A News 4 I-Team investigation found despite the teenager destroying property at DCS office and assaulting a staff member, the DCS paperwork given to his new foster family in Nashville stated that he had no history of violence.

Three weeks after the teenager was placed with the new family, he became so enraged that he broke furniture and dishes, resulting in cuts to his foster father.

A 9-1-1 call after the fight with the new foster family reveals the fear of the father in the household.

“Get a cop here now!” the foster father said in the 9-1-1 call.

“Is that (the teenager) screaming in the background?” the operator asked.

“Yes!” the father answered.

“What’s he doing?” the operator asked.

“He’s destroying the house is what he’s doing,” the father said.

While the foster family declined to comment, the News 4 I-team did obtain the teen’s case history, the initial placement checklist and the investigation into the fight at his foster parent’s house.

The teenager’s case history shows in May 2016, the teenager’s behavior was described as “destructive,” and details an incident where he assaulted a staff member and destroyed property at a DCS office.

When that teenager was placed with a foster family in April 2017, DCS provided the family with a foster home placement checklist that included the statement, “foster parents have a right to information about children placed in their care.”

On the checklist, it states that the teenager had no history of a destruction of property, no physical aggression and no history of such offenses.

Roughly three weeks later, the teenager got into a fight with the foster father and lost control, resulting in a desperate call to 9-1-1.

“You want me to stay on the phone with you till they get there?” the operator asked.

“Yeah because I'm bleeding,” the foster father said.

“Why are you bleeding sir? What happened to you?” the operator asked.

“Just (the teenager’s) throwing s***. There's glass everywhere,” the foster father said.

The News 4 I-Team showed our findings to Representative Sherry Jones, D-Nashville.

“DCS lied to them,” Jones said. “I'd say that's a pretty bad screw up. You flat out lied to the people who are taking this child in that want to care for him. They need to know. They need to know what's going on.”

DCS spokesman Rob Johnson said state law prevents the agency from discussing details of a child.

But in an email, Johnson wrote, "The case manager is no longer employed by DCS, and the Davidson regional leaders have worked with their staff to make sure an effective process is in place when it comes to disclosing children's histories to the foster families who are taking them in.”

Jones said this incident is another example of why DCS needs an oversight committee and has filed legislation this session calling for the committee to be brought back.

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