TCCY’s Vision.All children in Tennessee are safe, healthy, educated, nurtured and supported, and engaged in activities that provide them opportunities to achieve their fullest potential.
TCCY’s Mission.The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) advocates to improve the quality of life for children and families and provides leadership and support for child advocates.
Commission. The policy-making body of TCCY is a 21-member commission whose members are appointed by the governor. At least one member is appointed from each of Tennessee’s nine development districts. Four youth advisory members meet the federally mandated composition required for a Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act state advisory group.
Since the turn of the 21st Century, the proportion of children in state custody in Tennessee placed in family settings has increased by 25 percent. Every Kid Needs a Family: Giving Children in the Child Welfare System the Best Chance for Success, a new policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® project, calls on child welfare agencies to increase efforts to place youth removed from their homes with relatives or foster families.
The report recommends working with families to keep children in their own homes by providing the resources, skills and services they need. In Home Tennessee is a major effort by the Department of Children’s Services’ (DCS) to meet the needs of children and families in each of its unique regions and to keep children out of state custody whenever possible.
The DCS “continuum of care” model of contracting for services for children in state custody provides financial incentives for placement in the least restrictive, most appropriate, community-based settings to meet the clinical, behavioral and medical treatment needs of children, including in family placements whenever possible.
The report is available online at http://bit.ly/1LemcN2.
A new KIDS COUNT® Data Snapshot, Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States, looks at improvements in the assessment of one of the central measures of child well-being: the percent of children who suffer from the stress and hardship of poverty. Poverty is linked to a range of other health, educational and opportunity outcomes that make a difference in how well children are doing. The KIDS COUNT® report first asks the question, “What if?” What if there were no programs to help families care for their children, to make sure they have adequate food, housing, help if children or parents are disabled and to provide other services? The answer is that one in every three children in the United States and in Tennessee would be poor.
The report then looks at the effect of public policies to help children. Nearly a quarter of a million Tennessee children and 11 million U.S. children are raised from poverty when the effect of federal programs is considered. They reduce the percentage of Tennessee children in poverty from one in three (33%) to less than one in five (17%). The smapshot is available online at http://bit.ly/1JITQhc.
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth has released a policy brief on the evidence that a therapeutic approach is the most successful response to youth in the juvenile justice system. This report presents some of the most current research regarding what works in juvenile justice and why. The science is now clear: providing juvenile justice services that are trauma-informed in a therapeutic environment is the most effective, humane and cost effective way to provide services. The changes Commissioner Jim Henry and his team at the Department of Children’s Services are making are consistent with the recommendations in this policy brief. TCCY thanks Vanderbilt student Kaila Gilbert for her fine work on the brief as a TCCY intern. The brief is available online.
TCCY works with state agencies, juvenile courts, child advocacy groups, interested citizens and other organizations to improve services to children. The commission members, central office staff and regional coordinators are engaged in the following activities: