And it's such a shame that this is all going on in Nashville and the media in Nashville isn't even covering it. Even the Tennessean which used to always cover DCS isn't even approaching it. Haslam and Pilot gas must have them in their back pocket.
Now on to the money issue... In these court rooms each kid will have case workers. These case workers have a supervisor who has a supervisor making three if not four employees and the child still has not gone to his placement. In a lot of cases these kids will be placed in juvenile detention centers across the state which is usually owned by the county it is located in. I'm almost positive if a count was made today you would find enough kids who have already been adjudicated or found guilty of a crime in these juvenile detentions awaiting placement to fill all of Taft's empty bed which is only about have full. You only get what they send you and this decision is made again in Nashville and keep in mind the kids in these juvenile detention centers are waiting for placement. The Judge who heard their case has placed him in a secure facility but the Judges cannot tell DCS where to place these kids so the kid is sent by these same employees to one of the four institutions or group home or contract bed as it is called and when they are place in these juvenile detention centers usually thirty days at a time - keep in mind we still have more than one hundred beds that could be used at Taft and the three other institutions has plenty of bed space as well so if you do the math we are paying contract facilities to hold kids and we have empty beds all over the state that are already paid for because we own them. Keep in mind the reason for the vacant beds at Taft is due to budgetary issues.
Several years back, a cap was placed on the student capacity. Taft was allotted a budged to house only 96 students. Over 200 youths can be housed if all beds are utilized. Thus, this makes the cost per day of each student much higher due to this artificial cap. If any of the other institutions were asked about Taft closing they would tell you that this will make their jobs much harder and unsafe mainly because Taft has always been portrayed as the last stop for a juvenile and all the other facilities use Taft as a deterrent or place to send their worst acting students and to separate students who assault other students or staff, and do not work the program at their institution
I ask anyone who can explain why we pay to keep DCS kids in detention centers waiting for placement when intentions are open twenty-four hours, a day seven days a week waiting for new students as they have for many years, on behalf of the kids or students their time does not begin until they have been and classified and placed.
I am a retired State of TN employee with 30 years service and am very proud to have been able to accomplish this at Taft Youth. I still have family and many friends employed there.
While with Taft, most of my career was in transportation. This put me in places that most DCS employees seldom see, for instance courts all across Tennessee. In the court room, the young men I transported were always referred to as "the child", but remember these kids have been in the court system more than once and most likely placed in one of the three institutions or group homes before. At least once but most likely three times before Taft would receive them, meaning they could not be controlled at other placements and Taft would be the next placement. I was sent to Woodland Hills back in 2004 after their riot to transport students who were involved to Taft. I and other Taft employees had to go on their dorms and escort these students to our vans. Their employees were afraid of them.