August 25, 2000
Lisa Gallon (615) 313-4728

DHS to handle Child Care Broker Program In Shelby County Immediately

Nashville--- The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) has been informed by the attorney representing Cherokee Children and Family Services that the agency will not provide broker services to DHS customers during a 30-day transition period as indicated earlier.

On Monday, DHS Commissioner Natasha Metcalf terminated Cherokee's child care broker contract and announced plans to operate the subsidy program in Shelby County beginning September 25, 2000. The contract was terminated for "convenience," which is a standard contract clause in most state contracts that allows the state to terminate the service upon a 30-day notice. Because of Cherokee's decision to no longer provide services, DHS will begin providing this service today.

"We are disappointed that Cherokee has chosen not to provide services during the 30-day interim period to assure a smooth transition; however, we are prepared to take over the broker service immediately," DHS Assistant Commissioner Ed Lake said. "We have alerted staff and they are in place and prepared to provide good customer service and keep the focus on the children and families who depend on this program."

Information concerning this change will be mailed today to approximately 12,000 local parents and providers.

In the meantime, parents are urged to call 1-800-362-8004 if they have questions, or go to one of the DHS branch offices: 3230 Jackson Avenue or 3360 South Third Street.

Providers should call 1-800-364-1603. The hours of operation for both helplines are from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.