The Tennessee Accountability Center
The independent Tennessee Accountability Center, housed at the Center for State Child Welfare Data at Chapin Hall, was established under the terms of the Settlement Agreement in the Brian A. vs. Haslam class action lawsuit. The mission of the Tennessee Accountability Center (AC) is two-fold. First, the AC will provide evidence needed by stakeholders to understand what happens to children when they are placed in foster care in Tennessee. In turn, stakeholders will understand how the Department of Children’s Services’ efforts to serve children can be reinforced. Second, the AC, through its work with the Department, will strengthen the systems the Department uses to monitor its performance going forward, beyond the 18-month term of the AC.
Initially, the AC was charged with issuing three public reports on the Department’s maintenance of program, policy and practice improvements achieved under the Settlement Agreement. The focus of each of the first three reports was negotiated by the parties to the Brian A. lawsuit, and each report was organized around the outcome, process, quality, and capacity measures needed to make informed judgments about whether the Department was fulfilling its mandates. The first report was published on December 12, 2017, the second report was published on May 31, 2018, and the third report was published on December 19, 2018.
The AC’s collaboration with the Department has continued since the publication of the third report and the closure of the Brian A. lawsuit, with an agreement to issue four additional reports over two years—two “targeted” reports focused on areas of interest to the Department and the AC, and two “comprehensive” reports including the most critical measures of outcomes, process, quality, and capacity included in earlier AC reports. Report 4, which was the first of the targeted reports and focused on the growing population of foster children in Tennessee in recent years and unpacking the reasons for it, was published in 2019. Report 5, recently published, is the first of the “comprehensive” reports examining the Department’s performance on a wide range of measures across areas of child outcomes, the process and quality of care, and the capacity to provide care. Each report is posted below.
Click HERE to learn more about the Data Center’s Accountability Framework.