DCS Crisis: Children Go Hungry

Advocate Andy

Group says kids in state custody shouldn't go hungry

A group of Tennessee pastors is calling on the State of Tennessee's Department of Children's Services (DCS) to take action to ensure all children in state custody have adequate food.

The Southern Christian Coalition is responding to media reports about conditions in state-run facilities for children in state custody. The reports include indications that some children did not have enough food to eat.

"All Tennessee children, no matter where they live or how much money they make, or the color of their skin, deserve to live in safety and without hunger," said Rev. Keri Cress, Associate Pastor of East End United Methodist Church in Nashville. "Yet, we now know that some children in Tennessee Department of Children's Services have been living in unsafe conditions with a lack of access to food. Even worse than this, DCS Commissioner Margie Quinn, appointed by Governor Lee, fired DCS employees when they tried to raise alarm bells about these unsafe living conditions of children in state custody. As a mother, a pastor, and former DCS employee myself, I am horrified that those in leadership in Governor Lee's administration would not only be ok with neglectful living conditions for precious children, but that they would silence the voices of those prioritizing the safety of our children."

The group also said that state leaders are not currently prioritizing the well-being of children.

"As a pastor and as father I believe that no child should have to go hungry, so I'm disgusted that Tennessee's elected leaders like Sen. Ragan and Speaker Cameron Sexton are more focused on refusing federal funding used to feed children across the state, while children in DCS custody are going without food," said Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor of Pastor of Norris and Sinking Springs United Methodist Churches in the Knoxville area.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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