State of the Child Report Addresses Importance of Meeting the Needs of Abused and Neglected Children
Friday, June 7, 2013 5:15 am
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:
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth staffs three key groups that work to improve outcomes for vulnerable children:
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.
Read the Report:
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 athttp://datacenter.kidscount.org.
Contact Name: Linda O’Neal
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is a small 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.
For more information, contact (615) 741-2633 or a TCCY regional coordinator.