The current chief executive officer of End Slavery Tennessee will begin her new role as commissioner of the state’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) on Sept. 1.
Margie Quin heads a nonprofit organization that aims to end human trafficking and has over 25 years of law enforcement experience, including two decades as a special agent at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. With a master’s degree in public service management from Cumberland University, Quin is succeeding Jennifer Nichols as the governor-appointed commissioner of DCS. Nichols has served since 2019.
“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,” Gov. Bill Lee stated in a press release. “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.”
While Nichols led the state’s children services, Child Protective Services was reorganized to feature teams specializing in triage training and immediate response to crises involving physical abuse.
Additionally, according to the governor’s statement, Nichols’ tenure resulted in more than double the number of Tennessee’s collaborative courts known as Safe Baby Courts, that provide a support system and other resources to parents and their infants ages 0 to 3. She also implemented the ChildStat initiative, which would assess many points of data for “an integrated response” according to the release, in order to enhance both the accountability and transparency of legal teams and child protective services, as well as programs and juvenile justice systems in Tennessee.
Quin will take on the DCS role during a period of dissatisfaction within the department. Last August, The Tennessean reported the department struggled to find safe and appropriate placements, with reports of kids sleeping on couches or on floors in state offices. Concerns have also been raised by foster parents decrying an under-resourced system, and in March, Nichols announced that nearly one-fourth of the caseworker workforce had vacated the department after survey results revealed that caseworkers were fed up with both lacking leadership and high caseloads.