October 2023 Open Line
Operation: Music City Missing
12 missing children were recently located following a collaborative operation involving DCS, TBI, and MNPD. Great job to all involved in Operation: Music City Missing! Kate Greer with the DCS Human Trafficking Team was interviewed by a couple of local news stations that aired stories about the operation (see links to those stories below).
More information on operation: https://tbinewsroom.com/2023/10/05/tbi-mnpd-dcs-partner-on-operation-music-city-missing/
Ricky Elijah Storm Brown (adoptive name) has a rare condition and spent years in foster care. He finally found his forever home with Pat Brown on 9/18/23.
The adoption of Trenton & Layla was finalized on 10/31/23 after 2,127 days in foster care.
Justin & Lillyanna Pruett were adopted into their forever family after almost 6 years in Foster Care!
Hayleigh & Shelby Whitt were adopted into their forever family on 10/5/23!
Patience Summers was officially adopted on 10/4/23 into her forever family after 2,126 days!
Central Office Employee of the Month
We want to recognize the Central Office Employee of the Month for October, Lisa Brookover! Lisa is the director of accreditation.
“Lisa's outstanding leadership and contributions were significant to the successful completion of the Council on Accreditation (COA) Central Office site visit. Lisa's attention to detail, exceptional problem-solving skills, and determination to tackle collecting massive amounts of self-study evidence and submitting that in a timely manner were instrumental in the positive feedback from the site reviewers. She proactively worked across program areas and with leadership to inform, collect, and submit all documentation and ensured DCS exceeded the deadlines and expectations set forth by COA. Lisa's work ethic and mentorship throughout the process highlight the commitment of employees at DCS who serve children and families every day. Her dedication to continuous improvement is truly commendable and more than worthy of being recognized and honored. I am confident that recognizing Lisa's efforts and the outcome achieved by the agency in maintaining COA accreditation would not only boost morale but also motivate others to strive for the same level of excellence.” -Melanie Garner
Welcoming and celebrating some new team members!
- Kimberly Grabert, East TN Executive Director: Kimberly has more than 20 years of experience working in child welfare across the country. She is a nationally recognized expert in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, having held the position of Statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Director for the statewide child welfare agencies in Florida and Texas. Prior to her appointment, she worked as the Director of Program Development and Human Resources for Citrus Family Care Network, the community-based-care provider for Florida’s Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Kimberly is a graduate of American University, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, as well as Florida Gulf Coast University, with a master’s degree in public administration. She also is a graduate of Florida State University’s Certified Public Manager Program. Kimberly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will TRULY benefit the great work underway!!! We look forward to her starting September 5th!
- Shannon Romans, West TN Executive Director: Shannon began her with DCS in 2001. For seven years she served Child Protective Services as a case manager and team leader working in both investigations and assessments. From there she transitioned to serving in several professional capacities including foster parent support, foster parent training and recruitment, placement, home study writing, foster care team leader, and a team coordinator in Rutherford County where she supervised all program areas in the county except investigations. After two years in that role, she was promoted to Juvenile Justice Director for the East Grand Region, and in 2021 she was promoted to Regional Administrator for the TN Valley Region. Since being asked to serve as interim Regional Administrator for the South-Central Region she has gracefully served both regions, leading and mentoring frontline management and case managers! Shannon’s capacity to coach and mentor staff through difficult and complex cases/situations is invaluable! And we are OVER THE MOON excited to have her serve as West TN’s Executive Director!!! Effective September 5th !!
- Tiwana Woods, Davidson County Regional Director: Tiwana was introduced to the public child welfare sector through her work as an MSW Consultant with the MTSU Consortium (partnership initiative with DCS), where she assisted DCS team leaders and frontline staff to improve global assessment and ensure best practice model. She came to the Department in September 2006 as Deputy Regional Administrator of Child Programs, Davidson County, and over the next 17 years, she provided individual support to Davidson Regional Administrator and managed daily operations and policy compliance of regional staff, served as interim RA, Regional Administrator. Her experience is cross programs, she served her last two years as Deputy Director of the Office of Child Safety. Since returning to Child Programs in March 2023, Tiwana has shown up to be a transformational leader…turning regional operations around, and providing structure, organization, and accountability! We are THRILLED to have Tiwana serve permanently as the Regional Director!!! Effective Immediately 😊!!
Racial Justice Workgroup Spotlight
Every month the DCS Racial Justice Workgroup spotlights a person, group, company, or movement that has had a positive impact on racial and ethnic minority groups. This month’s spotlight subject is John Morton-Finney. He was an American Civil Rights activist who taught at Fisk University before continuing his long career in education in Indiana. He also practiced law for many years before he retired at the age of 107! Read more about this month’s spotlight and the DCS Racial Justice Workgroup here: DCS Racial Justice Workgroup (tn.gov)
Stressed out at home/work? Help is available!
EAP is offered with your benefits at no extra cost: https://www.here4tn.com/
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Every day, more than 700 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer. For these women, the impact of breast cancer extends well beyond the single month dedicated to awareness.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, send in photos (with permission to share) showing off your pink to DCSWellness.Council@tn.gov.
Be sure to also tag @TN_DCS and @workingforahealthiertn on Instagram!
Learn more about breast cancer awareness at:
Spotlight on Legal Resources
Did you know benefits-eligible Tennessee State Government employees have free and discounted confidential access to local attorneys and professional mediation? Get one 60-minute phone or in-person consultation with an attorney or mediator at no cost, plus ongoing representation by an attorney at a 25% discounted rate. Learn more:
Recipes of the Month!
It’s Spooky Season! Get festive with these Halloween Banana Popsicles. This sweet, healthy, and cute dessert is sure to be a treat for all ages. The combination of fiber (bananas) and protein (Greek yogurt, peanut butter) helps this treat stick to your ribs.
Looking for other healthy recipes?
- Try this Pumpkin Fluff Dip
- Celebrate apples being in season by enjoying an Apple Peanut Butter Smoothie
- Take your oatmeal to the next level with this Bacon Cheddar Savory Oatmeal