For every good child welfare bill Tennessee lawmakers come up with, there are five bad ones just festering to become law. Senator Jon Lundberg, who sponsored 113 bills in the 112th General Assembly, and Senator Dawn White (76 bills) share top honors along with Rep. Mary Littleton (51 bills) for sponsoring the most bills guaranteed to make poor families suffer even more than they already do at the mercy of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS).
To be fair to Lundberg, who is Deputy Speaker and looks a bit like Doc Brown in “Back to the Future” but with better hair, he sponsored more bills about beer than child welfare so at least he’s got his priorities straight.
You would think Littleton who chairs the House Children and Family Affairs Subcommittee would know something about child welfare but she’s as brain dead on the subject as real knuckleheads like Rep. John Rick Eldridge who suggested hiring kids before they even graduate to fill the 500-plus empty caseworker jobs at DCS.
Eldridge is right that you don’t need an education to work for DCS. But you do need to lie easily and shamelessly about the poor families you are supposed to be helping. And you must show an aptitude for filling out paperwork whose sole purpose is to delay, if not prevent, kids taken into custody from ever returning home.
Besides an occasional perjury, the job also requires unquestionable loyalty to DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols and the pinch-faced apologists who surround her. Without the compliance of corrupt officials and their acolytes–all the way down to lowly caseworkers–there is no way to keep such a large-scale child trafficking scheme going. The TBI has a task force for that sort of thing. They are going after the wrong guys.
DCS operations cost taxpayers about $1 billion a year. Every year they snatch more poor kids from their families and pay strangers to take care of them. DCS has organized mass child kidnappings and built a huge network of foster homes, half of them run by contractors. Law enforcement and the courts that supply the muscle enforce their business model.
Tennessee lawmakers avert their eyes to what is really going on and every year they keep approving DCS’s requests for more money. They are in the process of doing that again right now.