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TCCY Issues KIDS COUNT State of the Child Report

Embargoed November 10, 2010, 3:00 a.m. EDT

Contact: Linda O’Neal and Pam Brown

Phone: (615) 741-2633

All Tennessee children need the opportunity to be healthy, succeed in school and become the economic engine of the state’s future. KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee 2009 report on child well-being is released today by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth

Over the past two centuries Tennessee has built networks and programs for the common benefit, to protect vulnerable Tennesseans, and plan for the state’s future. Public education laws were first passed in 1829, and the state’s education infrastructure was adopted in 1873. In 1877 the State Board of Health was established, and in1923 the Department of Public Health was created to provide the foundation for Tennessee’s public health infrastructure. In 1933 supportive services began for vulnerable Tennesseans, and in 1953 Tennessee implemented mental health services.

“Over the past two decades Tennessee has established creative new public-private and state-local partnerships to implement essential ‘infrastructure’ services for children and families,” said Linda O’Neal, executive director of TCCY. “These services and supports are interrelated, so weakening public structure resources in one system erodes the strength of the foundation in all systems.”

KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee is a valuable and valued tool in helping our leaders plan for the state’s future by helping our children be successful. Federal stimulus funds and state reserves are currently helping to maintain many essential services. The future responsibility for maintaining the infrastructure and commitments to Tennessee’s children is in the hands of the state’s elected leaders – the new governor and the new General Assembly.

The book lists county-by-county health, education, child welfare, demographics and economic information on the state’s children.

The data in the book is also available online at http://datacenter.kidscount.org. Users can create their own graphs, maps and comparisons of the indicators at the state and county level.

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. 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. KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child 2009 is available on TCCY’s website at www.tennessee.gov/tccy/kc-soc09.shtml.

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