November 2023 Open Line
Recruiting Foster Families
Brentwood Baptist Church
Earlier this month, DCS partnered with Brentwood Baptist Church for an outreach event aimed at engaging different congregations from across the area to spread the word about our need for more foster families. First Lady Maria Lee attended and shared her personal experience growing up in a family that fostered. Special thanks to Carla Aaron & Lindsay Coleman for speaking at the event on behalf of DCS.
Recruiting on WSMV (Channel 4)
Thanks to Lindsay Coleman for appearing on WSMV (Channel 4) for a live interview to promote the need for more foster/adoptive families. Lindsay was interviewed by Tracy Kornet.
Here’s the full clip:
Tennessee’s Fight Against Human Trafficking
Tennessee was the ONLY state to receive an overall A grade for Shared Hope International’s annual report cards on Youth Sex Trafficking.
Operation Not For Sale
DCS’s Human Trafficking Response Team was part of a multi-agency initiative to find missing children in Shelby County. In total, 13 kids were located during the operation. Read more information in the TBI news release: https://tbinewsroom.com/2023/11/09/multiple-agencies-partner-to-find-missing-children-as-part-of-operation-not-for-sale/#:~:text=The%20effort%2C%20dubbed%20Operation%20Not,Department%20of%20Children's%20Services%20%E2%80%93%20Absconder
Thanks to Human Trafficking Response Team Director Kate Greer for agreeing to be interviewed by NewsNation about the issue of child sex trafficking.
Here’s a link to their story: https://www.newsnationnow.com/crime/states-fail-foster-kids-sex-trafficking-report/
Malik Thornton was adopted into his forever family on 11.28.23 – just in time for his 2nd birthday!
This is a special one…. 4 children now have forever homes thanks to Mom Marjorie Hoffman & daughter Veronica Thoms. Thank you to the DCS team members who have been fighting for this family for the past five years!
Congratulations to the Houston Family. They welcomed Eli into their family on 11.29.23!
Central Office Employee of the Month
Dr. Shayna Smith has been named the November 2023 Central Office Employee of the Month!
“Shayna is a vital part of our team in Child Health and facilitates much more than most realize. Not only does she provide oversight to developing and maintaining the food menu items for the youth in our YDC's, but over the last 2 years she has also inherited the task of managing all 12 of our Health Advocacy Representatives across the state. This has been a huge role to fill as she not only coordinates reoccurring meetings with each of them individually and regionally, but also carves out time to meet with the regional SAT Coordinators who report to the HARs. Shayna makes herself available for daily triaging when it comes to barriers the regions face with medical bills, medications, TennCare appeals, obtaining TennCare cards and much, much more. In addition, Shayna has made it a priority while serving in this role to travel to each of the regions to personally meet each of the HARs in person and continues to provide support to each of them, however needed. Shayna has done an incredible job serving in this position and truly deserves to be recognized for the genuine, consistent, and faithful service she provides.” -Shannon Johnson, Director of Health Advocacy
“Shayna has taken on a difficult role and done an awesome job supervising all the HARs across the state. She has worked tirelessly to standardize processes to help ensure the children we serve get the medical care they need. She has done this while earning the trust and respect of all the HARs and the SATs. She is a huge asset to the Child Health team and to the Department as a whole.” -Dr. Deborah Lowen, Deputy Commissioner Child Health
Racial Justice Spotlight
This month, the DCS Racial Justice Workgroup is spotlighting Elizabeth Duff – who made history in 1974 as the first Black woman to drive a Nashville city bus. https://www.tn.gov/dcs/program-areas/training/spotlight/dcs-racial-justice-workgroup.html
Calling all current and emerging leaders! Interested in acquiring and expanding your knowledge base, but short on time? Take advantage of this compilation of LinkedIn Learnings divided by leadership skills. Work at your own pace, choose what skills you build, and get training credit! Click the flyer to join the classroom!
Congratulations to the East Region on a very successful COA site visit. They received some high praise from the reviewers. They worked very hard on getting ready for this site visit and their efforts showed!!!
World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day was Nov. 14. More than 760,000 people in Tennessee have diabetes, putting them at high risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious complications, such as kidney failure, blindness, and amputation of a toe, foot or leg. One way to lower your risk for diabetes is to be physically active. Working for a Healthier Tennessee offers weekly opportunities to help you get moving. We can also provide webinars to educate on diabetes prevention. Learn more: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/wfhtn/documents/wfhtn_world_diabetes_day.pdf
Great American Smokeout
Every November, we recognize the Great American Smokeout.
In Tennessee, 11,400 adults die each year from smoking. Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time and a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one.
Guide to quit smoking: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/risk-prevention/tobacco/guide-quitting-smoking.html
Help someone you love quit smoking: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/helping-a-smoker-quit.html
Tobacco quit aids (for health plan members): https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/partnersforhealth/documents/tobacco_quit_aids.pdf
Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine: https://tnquitline.com/
Take a Hike!
Did you know Nov. 17 was Take a Hike Day? Tennessee State Parks offer After-Thanksgiving Hikes. If you go on a hike, send your photo(s) with permission to WFHT.TN@tn.gov by Dec. 1 for a chance to win a prize.
How to Stay Active in Cold Weather at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/getting-active/how-to-stay-active-in-cold-weather
Events You Might Have Missed
Meditation Break with Nat
Give your mind a break and watch the Nov. 15 live, virtual meditation any time at: https://tn.webex.com/tn/ldr.php?RCID=b556a28d4cf8821028f3a7ca9d394cd2
Every Wednesday, 9 to 9:30 a.m. CT
Let’s build our Resilience together and take time to be Mindful.
Here’s what you missed in November...
Nov. 1 recording link: https://tn.webex.com/tn/ldr.php?RCID=865d75a2014171c92d1476b4c633df68
Nov. 8 recording link: https://tn.webex.com/tn/ldr.php?RCID=205e13191511b90e0cf41093ad2d81b5
Nov. 15 recording link: https://tn.webex.com/tn/ldr.php?RCID=9200d58e5fa9074cc4774ed482245089
Please click the below link to join live. No registration is needed!
Department of Children's Services Fitness Break
Every Thursday from 10-10:15 a.m. CT
Give your body a break every Thursday on Microsoft Teams! You can expect a livestream workout video handpicked by your DCS Wellness Council members. Here’s what you missed in November...
15-Minute Standing Abs Workout
10-Minute Arm Workout
1-Mile Walk and Talk: The Space Between
Want to join us live? Download the calendar series.
Social Media Spotlight
Follow Working for a Healthier Tennessee on social media for more health tips, exclusive updates, inspiration, and more! Here’s what you might have missed from us recently…
Think health experts don't experience struggles when it comes to wellness? Not true! Find out how our team members tackle mental health, finding time to be active and portion control!
O’ Fitness Tree, O’ Fitness Tree!
Join the holiday fun from Dec. 6-12! Give yourself the gift of being active! Make movement a daily habit by completing each day's exercise video:
Let us know how many workouts you completed by Dec. 14 for a chance to win a prize: