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Governor, Commissioners to Speak at Children's Advocacy Days

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Linda O'Neal
March 7, 2003 Phone (615) 741-2633

Nashville - The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth's 15th Annual Children's Advocacy Days on March 18-19 will be the first public forum including the Governor and all the commissioners of state agencies serving children. The event will provide an opportunity for concerned citizens to advocate for children to receive priority when policy decisions are made this year.

Gov. Phil Bredesen will be the keynote speaker at Tuesday's luncheon where he's expected to unveil new efforts by his Administration to address children's issues. His address will begin at 12 noon.

Following Gov. Bredesen will be child advocate Jack Levine. The president of Florida Voices for Children since 1979, Levine has received many honors for his work on behalf of children, including being named the Floridian of the Year by The Orlando Sentinel. He holds a master's degree in Child Development and Family Studies from Purdue University. Levine's participation is sponsored by Success by 6.

The new commissioners of state departments serving children will identify department priority issues on Tuesday, March 18. Speaking will be Virginia Trotter Betts, commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities; Virginia T. Lodge, commissioner, Department of Human Services; Michael Miller, commissioner, Department of Children's Services; Kenneth S. Robinson, commissioner, Department of Health; and Lana Seivers, commissioner, Department of Education.

The Jim Pryor Child Advocacy Award and the Making KIDS COUNT Media Awards will be presented on March 18.

The presentations on Wednesday, March 19, will introduce participants to issues of interest, including revenue issues, early childhood education, TennCare, and mental health. Information on working with legislators will also be provided. Participants, including child advocates from across the state, will have opportunities to visit with their state legislators.

Events of both days are open to the public, but preregistration is required for people participating in the lunch on Tuesday.
The luncheon is sponsored by Success By 6, and a continental breakfast on Wednesday by Omni Vision. Other children's services and advocacy organizations are also co-sponsors.

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.