For more than 60 years, Tennessee children have had a voice in Tennessee government. A permanent commission was authorized to advocate for children, beginning in 1955 as the Commission on Youth Guidance and continuing through several changes in name and roles to the current Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY).
To commemorate this milestone, the newly released KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee includes a short history of the agency and a timeline of critical events in child well-being. Available online are data profiles for each county, with rankings based on an index of selected indicators.
County rankings on child well-being presented in the county profiles are drawn from the 11 most outcome-oriented indicators. The highest ranking five counties were Williamson, Wilson, Sumner, Rutherford (all of which surround Davidson County) and Washington, which includes most of Johnson City. The counties where youth face the most challenges were Warren, Haywood, Shelby, Van Buren and Lake. The state's other larger counties and their ranks were Davidson, 89; Knox, 13; and Hamilton, 32.
Thirty-four indicators are listed in the online county profiles, which include ranks and are available on the agency website at http://www.tn.gov/tccy/article/tccy-kc-soc15-counties.
Additionally, data on more than 150 statewide and county-by-county indicators of Tennessee child well-being, including maternal tobacco use, added for the first time this year, are available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org, where there are options to create maps, tables and charts.
During its first decades, the agency produced reports on child welfare but began printing an annual report on child well-being in 1988 when the legislature added it to the agency's responsibilities. In 1992, TCCY became the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Tennessee KIDS COUNT® partner, participating in the national foundation's child well-being data collection and sharing efforts.
Among the significant events for children over the past 60 years listed are the establishment of the first day care standards in 1955 and the passage in 1978 of the first child passenger safety law in the nation. The first Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization in Tennessee began in Nashville in 1984. Another milestone was the 1995 legislative requirement for doctors to report suspected child abuse. Kindergarten was made mandatory in 1993. A significant advance was the creation in 1996 of the Department of Children's Services to serve children in or at risk of entering state custody. Graduated driver's licenses for beginning young drivers were instituted in 2000, and Tennessee Hope Scholarships in 2002.
TCCY celebrates the role of advocates in supporting improvements in child welfare over its history and in the future. In 1989, TCCY hosted the first Children's Advocacy Days. The 29th annual event is scheduled for March 14-15, 2017, and is one of many training and networking events hosted by TCCY, the regional councils on children and youth and other entities (Council on Children's Mental Health, Second Look Commission, Youth Transitions Advisory Council and Home Visiting Leadership Alliance) attached to TCCY.
The KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee, listing 44 indicator tables, is available online at http://tn.gov/tccy/article/tccy-kcsoc15.
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is an independent 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. TCCY is a state KIDS COUNT® affiliate, and partial funding is provided through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to disadvantaged children. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.