Governor, First Lady to Co-Chair Children’s Cabinet

Thursday, January 26, 2012 | 09:23am

Cabinet to create comprehensive strategy focused on Tennessee children’s well-being

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam today announced the governor will issue an executive order refocusing and restructuring the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, which they will co-chair.

This makes the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet the only one in the country co-chaired by both a governor and the spouse, according to the National Forum for Youth Investment, and the group through collaboration and cooperation will create a comprehensive strategy focused on issues such as children’s physical and mental health, education, safety and overall well-being.

The group also will work to coordinate, streamline and enhance the state’s efforts in providing resources and services to Tennessee’s children.

“An old proverb says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the second best time is now,” Haslam said. “Providing the best services and creating the best opportunities for Tennessee’s children to succeed must be a priority. By bringing together the Children’s Cabinet, Crissy and I want to share policy, coordinate, collaborate and cooperate so the future for Tennessee kids is as bright as possible.”

The Haslams will co-chair the group consisting of commissioners from the departments of Children’s Services, Education, Health, Human Services and Mental Health as well as the TennCare director and any other individuals the governor may deem appropriate. This executive order will replace Executive Order No. 7 from the previous administration.

“Bill and I are grateful that so many people have been working hard to serve children and families in our state,” Crissy Haslam said. “The Children’s Cabinet is a wonderful opportunity for state agencies and stakeholders to work together toward a common goal of improving the future for Tennessee’s children.”

The Children’s Cabinet will be directed by Jude White, who brings a mixture of experience in judicial and private law practice, non-profit management and state government services.  White recently served as the executive director of Renewal House, a local non-profit agency in the Nashville community serving families in recovery from addiction. She worked formerly as assistant general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Children Services, after practicing law and serving as a judicial clerk.