Article by W. Clay Crook-
The special guest speaker for the December 14, 2021, Lexington Rotary Club was Mary Beth Duke, who is with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS).
Mary Beth lives in Henderson County and serves as the Statewide Director of Child Protective Services with DCS, and has been with the state since 1994. She was originally hired by Rotarian Margaret Milam, so Mary Beth started her career in Lexington. In 1996, DCS became separate from the Department of Human Services. Mary Beth has 121 staff members in her program area, and there are 3,800 total staff positions with DCS.
The department is currently short staffed, with about 700 open positions, including a few in Henderson County, and it is a good career start with someone with a college degree. You can apply online at TN.gov.
DCS receives about 103,000 referrals per year, and some 14,000 were for child safety in 2021. In 2020, there were 155 child deaths in Tennessee due to abuse, but thankfully none were from Henderson County. Eighty-three total referrals to DCS came from Henderson County, which is a lower number than during the pandemic months of 2020.
There are about 40 children from the county that are in foster care, however, there are only 16 DCS foster homes and six private provider homes in Henderson County. There are another…
For complete coverage, see the December 15th edition of The Lexington Progress.