published Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Jim Henry named head of Tennessee's Department of Children's Services

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday named Jim Henry as the permanent head of the state's troubled Department of Children's Services.

Henry has been working as acting commissioner after the abrupt departure in February of then-Commissioner Kate O'Day, whose department has been engulfed in controversies over inadequate protections for children, children's deaths and questions about how investigations have been handled.

Henry, a former state lawmaker, already was commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and has been holding down a dual role at Children's Services as well as Intellectual and Development Disabilities, working to bring order back to DCS operations.

The governor today also named Debra Payne as the new commissioner of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Payne is a department veteran and has been serving as deputy commissioner of program operations.

The appointments take effect June 1.

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