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Department of Children's Services gets new commissioner

Jennifer Nichols replaced after difficult tenure
Margie Quin
Posted at 12:03 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 21:06:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Embattled Department of Children's Services Commissioner Jennifer Nichols is off the job.

Jennifer Nichols.jpg

Governor Bill Lee announced Margie Quin will take over at DCS.

Quin is the CEO of End Slavery Tennessee - a non-profit that focuses on ending human trafficking.

She will take over as Commissioner on September 1.

Quin has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience including work with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Nichols was appointed by Governor Lee to run DCS in 2019.

Her tenure has been marked by high numbers of caseworker vacancies and concern about low morale in the department.

Governor Lee made the announcement in a Friday news release with the following quote:

“Jennifer is a committed public servant who has faithfully served Tennesseans since the beginning of my administration, and her leadership has been crucial in our work to ensure every child in our state has a loving, permanent home,” said Lee. “As we continue these efforts, I am confident that Margie’s experience in both the nonprofit and law enforcement sectors will benefit Tennessee children and their families.”

The brief news release also listed several accomplishments Nichols achieved at DCS during her tenure.

From the news release:
Nichols came to DCS after two decades as a prosecutor who tried many child abuse, child homicide and high-profile cases, the last being the Holly Bobo murder. While Nichols was Commissioner, the department’s Child Protective Services division was restructured to include specialized teams trained for triage and immediate response to crises involving serious child physical abuse. Nichols also implemented ChildStat, a statewide initiative that increases transparency and accountability by measuring and analyzing multiple data points for an integrated response by the juvenile justice, child programs, child protective services and legal teams. During Nichols’ tenure as Commissioner, DCS, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Administrative Office of the Courts, with support from the legislature, more than doubled the number of Tennessee’s Safe Baby Courts, specialized collaborative courts that provide resources and support for parents and babies zero to three.

We will have more on Governor Lee's announcement.