NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has seen a significant shift in caseloads. However, it’s still too high.  

Back in December, a state audit exposed case managers were juggling up to 100 cases.  

Today, it’s around 30, according to DCS. 

In an attempt to reduce the current case load number in half, case managers across the state volunteered their time over the first weekend in June in Davidson County.   

Each day, case managers were given a stack of confidential cases before heading out to homes across the county.  

After a thorough investigation, case managers reported back to staff in the office. If there were no safety concerns, the case was closed.  

Closing just one case would typically take a case manager seven to eight hours. However, with the extra help over the weekend, the work was completed within a few hours.  

“Paperwork, documentation, that is the hardest part of the job…because, you know, often these cases are presented to a judge,” said Interim Deputy Commissioner of Safety DeShawn Harris.

Harris said the surge event is just one solution while DCS remains understaffed. 

“When the case loads were really, really high, morale was really low,” Harris said.  

Harris has been with DCS for the past 23 years.   

“l like to say I did not choose this career; this career chose me,” he said. 

Harris has been through the highs and lows relating to caseloads, staff turnovers, to negative publicity, such as children sleeping in poor conditions while in state custody.   

However, Commissioner Margie Quin said, thankfully, that is no longer the case as of March 30. However, something else keeps her up at night.   

“On the juvenile justice side, bed capacity is still an enormous issue for us. We just don’t have bed capacity across our Juvenile Justice System,” Quin said.  

However, she said with events like this, a revamp on training and a pay increase for case managers, the department is starting to turn around.   

“When I got hired, we had 620 openings in this department; we now have 329 this week. Sometimes changes in new personal or leadership are necessary to see the changes that we want to see,” Quin said. 

DCS told News 2 they saw much success with the surge event and were able to close 132 cases.  The next surge event is scheduled from July 21-23.