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Juvenile Justice

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is the state advisory group responsible for implementing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act in Tennessee.

The four core requirements of the act are to:

  • Deinstitutionalize status offenders;
  • Remove children from adult jails;
  • Separate children from adult offenders; and
  • Reduce disproportionate minority contact (DMC) within the juvenile justice system.

To assure compliance with these requirements, TCCY conducts periodic on-site monitoring of all jails and detention facilities in Tennessee.

TCCY also performs on-site monitoring of programs awarded funds through TCCY and distributes state and federal funds to counties and community programs to prevent delinquency or improve services for children involved with juvenile courts.

TCCY oversees the statewide and local disproportionate minority contact task forces, which work with local communities to address the overrepresentation of minorities at all applicable points of contact within the juvenile justice system. Also, in collaboration with other state agencies, the courts, schools and community-based organizations, TCCY provides training and technical assistance on grant applications and compliance with the JJDP act.

Until July 2012, TCCY annually evaluated a representative sample of all children in state custody through the CPORT/QSR Program. A report was been produced identifying similarities between children in custody because they were adjudicated delinquent and those found to be neglected and abused.

A list of Juvenile Detention Centers, Temporary Holding Facilities and Youth Development Centers is also available.

TCCY Policy Brief: A Therapeutic Approach to Juvenile Justice

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.