Legislation proposed in the second session of the 107th General Assembly, if it becomes law, will have a major effect on child welfare and child advocacy in Tennessee resulting from changes in the oversight of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and funding of the Children's Program Outcome Review Team's participation in annual Quality Service Review Team evaluations of children in state custody.
One proposal (SB 2249, Norris/HB 2387, McCormick) would change the authority to appoint the executive director from the Governor-appointed 21-member Commission on Children and Youth to the Governor. Language proposed in the Appropriations Bill eliminates funding for the Children's Program Outcome Review Team (CPORT).
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, whose members are appointed by the Governor to three-year terms, voted to approve statements of the impact of these changes. These positions are available as Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth Impact Statements on Proposed Legislation Affecting TCCY
The Commission's position is that its current structure insulates it from partisan politics and makes it responsible to the best interests of Tennessee's children. One-third of Commission members are appointed or reappointed each year in July. Members may serve for up to three three-year terms. The statements says the changes threaten the Commissions ability to exercise "independent thought and advocacy across the executive, legislative and judicial branches, all in the best interests of ensuring Tennessee children have opportunities to be safe, healthy, supported and nurtured, and engaged in constructive activities for future success.
The Commission also supports the continuation of CPORT as an external review of children in state custody. TCCY has created a number of materials to explain its position, which follow:
TCCY also houses the Second Look Commission, a new program, focusing on cases where children have faced multiple incidents of abuse. Like all new programs, the Second Look Commission faces a initial "sunrise" review, which will determine if it will continue its work. For more information on the Second Look Commission and its worthiness of support go to its website.
Please contact your State Senator or Representative and the Governor to support TCCY continuing to provide an independent voice to advocate for Tennessee children and external review of progress made on behalf of children in state custody.
Other Legislative Information
To view the TCCY Legislative Report you need the free Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe site. If you have any trouble viewing the report please contact Steve Petty at Steve.Petty@tn.gov or by calling (615) 532-1685.
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth contracts with Lexis Publishing to make the Tennessee Compilation of Selected Laws on Children, Youth and Families available.
Each winter copies of the book are distributed to courts, etc., and members of the TCCY regional councils on children and youth and others. Additional hard copies of the book may be purchased by contacting Lexis Publishing at (800) 542-0957 or by fax at (800) 643-1280.
TCCY legislative reports and updates on legislation affecting children can be delivered directly to your e-mail address if you follow this procedure.