Categories
Press Releases

TN Commission on Children, Youth Releases New ‘State of the Child’ Report

Press release from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth; June 7, 2013:

Tennessee’s future depends on fostering the health and well-being of the next generation, including those children who are involved with the child welfare system. The latest edition of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth’s KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee focuses on the impact of child abuse and neglect and the importance of a supportive infrastructure to help vulnerable children develop successfully.

Some stress is inevitable in life, but a chronic stressful condition such as neglect or abuse is called “toxic stress” and can disrupt developing brain architecture, leading to lifelong difficulties in learning, memory and self-regulation. Abuse, neglect and separation from a parent present traumatic, toxic stress that can lead to a variety of social, emotional and behavioral problems.

Linda O’Neal, executive director of TCCY, said, “Tennessee is engaged in a variety of efforts to improve outcomes for vulnerable children. Many are built on collaborative efforts to bring together partners to provide the services and supports needed to help children and families, ensure safety for children, and nurture opportunities for healing, stability and permanence.”

The Department of Children’s Services is the primary agency in Tennessee with responsibility for responding to child maltreatment. The report includes information about important DCS supported efforts to improve outcomes for children:

  • Joint Task Force on Children’s Justice/Child Sexual Abuse;
  • In Home Tennessee, an initiative to improve services provided in homes;
  • Multi-Level Response System (MRS) Community Advisory Boards that marshal supportive services for families across Tennessee;
  • Centers of Excellence for services to children in state custody that support the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment and service planning process and the Learning Collaborative focused on providing evidence-informed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children who have been abused or neglected.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth staffs three key groups that work to improve outcomes for vulnerable children:

  • The Second Look Commission brings together stakeholders in the child protection system to review cases of children who have experienced a second or subsequent incident of severe abuse and make recommendations for improving child safety.
  • The Council on Children’s Mental Health, co-chaired by with commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, brings together stakeholders to work toward implementation of a system of care for children’s mental health in Tennessee – youth and family-driven, culturally competent services provided in the least restrictive environment. Prevention and early intervention services and efforts to reduce the need for state custody have been major thrusts of the Council.
  • The Youth Transitions Advisory Council, a partnership with the Department of Children’s Services, includes youth leaving state custody and a broad group of those serving them to help shape policies and strengthen the infrastructure of services and supports they need to succeed as young adults who typically do not have nurturing families.

TCCY’s Ombudsman Program works to help resolve problems in the best interests of children in the custody of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS), in the relative caregiver program or involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) system.

O’Neal added, “Important private partners in the state’s child protection infrastructure include Child Advocacy Centers, CASA programs, Prevent Child Abuse and other social services, health and mental health programs across the state.”

KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee summarizes many of the conditions children face and highlights recommendations to assist them. The book also includes data compiled during the final year of Children’s Program Outcome Review Team (CPORT) reviews of randomly selected child custody cases. The program was eliminated in the 2012-13 state budget. Charts based on the data show, for example, more than a third of children in custody had one or more parents with a mental health diagnosis and more than half had a substance abuser as a parent.

The report, which is published annually, also lists county-by-county health, education, child welfare, demographic, economic and other data on Tennessee’s children. KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child 2012 is available on TCCY’s website at www.tn.gov/tccy/kc-soc12.pdf. Interactive information in the book and child welfare information for all states is also available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org.

Categories
Press Releases

Study: State Spending on Children Uses ‘Pay Me Now or Pay Me – Much More – Later’ Model

Press release from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth; June 6, 2012:

Tennessee can benefit when citizens understand how the public sector can help to maintain our way of life through careful stewardship of our public dollars. The latest edition of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth’s KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee focuses not just on measuring child well-being but also on how we as Tennesseans are spending our funds to improve the lives of our children.

The state budget is the collective tool for planning the future and reflects our priorities. Tennessee tracks actual expenditures on services for children, and leads the way in evaluating the continuing effectiveness of public spending The report looks at expenditures over the past five fiscal years, categorizing expenditures by funding source, primary outcome, service delivery location and programmatic focus. Twenty-five state agencies serving children submitted data on their expenditures for services for children.

“We have learned important lessons from this process, said Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, which compiled the report. “Universal prevention services have the lowest per child cost and, through their ability to prevent greater downstream costs, have the greatest cost-benefit potential. However, as a category they received the least funding.

“Intensive intervention services to children with the greatest needs had the highest per-child costs, reflecting the ‘pay me now or pay me – much more – later’ rule.”

The state’s reliance on federal funding to care for Tennessee children is evident from the report. In fiscal year 2011 nearly half (45 percent) of expenditures were from federal sources. If Basic Education Program (BEP) funding for local education agencies is excluded, three of every four dollars spent that year for services for children were federal. And when state monies required to draw down federal funding are combined with federal funds, the total equals nine of every 10 dollars spent by the state for services to children, excluding the BEP.

“Ultimately, the analysis tells us Tennessee children are receiving a wide variety of services through programs that focus on keeping them safe, healthy, educated, supported and nurtured, and engaged in activities to help them succeed in school and in life,” O’Neal said.

The book, published annually, also lists county-by-county health, education, child welfare, demographic, economic and other data on Tennessee’s children. KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child 2011 is available on TCCY’s website at www.tn.gov/tccy/kc-soc11.shtml. Interactive information in the book is also available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is a state agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families. Partial funding for TCCY’s KIDS COUNT program is provided through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to disadvantaged children.

The 2012 KIDS COUNT National Data Book ranking of states on child well-being will be released July 25, 2012.

For more information, contact (615) 741-2633 or a TCCY regional coordinator.

Categories
Press Releases

Gubernatorial Candidate Forum Scheduled for Children’s Advocacy Days: March 9-10

Press Release from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, 1 March 2010:

Candidates to lead Tennessee will share their plans to care for its future – its children – Wednesday, March 10, in a forum at Children’s Advocacy Days.

The Children’s Advocacy forum is part of a two-day event focusing ?attention on issues affecting children and providing citizens information for policy advocacy for children. Sponsored by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and its regional councils, the free ?event will be at War Memorial Auditorium March 9-10.

Nashville journalism legend and founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University John Seigenthaler will moderate the 10 a.m. forum. Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, former state House Democratic Leader Kim ?McMillan, Jackson businessman Mike McWherter, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey and Congressman Zach Wamp have confirmed participation in the forum. News Channel 5, the Nashville CBS affiliate will broadcast the forum at times to be announced prior to the election and make it available to other CBS affiliates across the state.

Children’s Advocacy Days, in its 22nd year, will also feature presentations on critical services on Tuesday, March 9. The Making KIDS COUNT Media, Youth Excellence and the Jim Pryor Child Advocacy awards will be announced on the event’s first day.

Bill Bentley, president of Voices for America’s Children’s, will kick off Wednesday’s events, which also include a presentation by Education Commissioner Tim Webb on Tennessee’s Race to the Top.

In keeping with the election year activities, the theme of 2010 Children’s Advocacy Days will be a political picnic, with everything but the ants – opportunities for participants to meet their legislative ?representatives, plan to work together and celebrate their hard work and vision for Tennessee’s children.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is an independent agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its ?primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families. For more information contact TCCY at (615) 741-2633 or visit the agency website at www.tn.gov/tccy/cad.shtm. Online registration (at http://cad2010.eventbrite.com/) ends midnight Thursday, March 4. Onsite registration begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Additional information on the event is available at www.tn.gov/tccy/cad-ag.pdf.