Children's Advocacy Days - March 5-6, 2024


The 2024 Children’s Advocacy Days theme, “Bee” the Change; Create a Buzz for Children and Youth, will explore innovative ways to positively impact the lives of children and youth. This year’s theme draws inspiration from the industrious and collaborative nature of the small but incredibly impactful honeybee, symbolizing our collective responsibility to nurture and support the growth of the next generation of Tennesseans. CAD serves as a hub, one might say a hive of ideas, bringing together children’s advocates to create a buzz around strategies, research and best practices that empower and uplift those whose work benefits children and youth.

Children’s Advocacy Days is not just an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise; it's a call to action. By the end of this event, we hope attendees will leave inspired and equipped with practical strategies to continue to make a meaningful impact on the lives of children and youth. Together, let's create a buzz that resonates far beyond CAD’s walls, ensuring that every child and young person has the support and opportunities they need to thrive. 

2024 CAD Agenda

CAD 2024 Presentation Slides

The 2023 State of The Child in Tennessee

Keynote: Collective Impact: What is it Really and What Could it Mean for Young People? 

Keynote: Centering Youth Thriving



Nurture the Next 

Skill UP

Every Child Tennessee 

The Children's Advocacy Leadership Academy

Governor's Early Literacy Foundation


Hope in Action with Dr. Jill Obremskey


CAD logo retake 1 - 1

Much like an orchestra with its blend of instruments and sounds, every community strives to be in harmony, all its instruments in tune, each playing its part in the symphony. In a community, policies and systems must work together to achieve harmony to enrich the lives of all children, youth and families. Organizations that work collaboratively bring disparate melodies together to create a symphony far greater than its individual parts. As an orchestra, each community creates its own powerful, joyous sound.

Musical metaphors aside, the research is clear. Studying music at a young age promotes language and literacy, and enjoying music at any age reduces anxiety, blood pressure and pain. Music improves sleep quality, mood, mental alertness and memory. And music brings communities together. Across Tennessee, our children and youth grow up with many kinds of music, from bluegrass to blues, from country to classical, from rock to reggae and everything in between. The musical movements in each of our communities are different, but the love of music in our souls is the same.

Children’s Advocacy Days 2023 celebrates the musical movements in all Tennessee communities and the children who listen, play, dance and sing.

Children's Advocacy Days 2022. Currents of Change; Rivers of Opportunity. 

Since Spring of 2020, we all have experienced unprecedented and unique challenges. Though challenges remain, Tennesseans are committed to finding a way forward together. The last two years have impacted some Tennessee communities more than others. While the private and public sectors found unique ways to overcome and continue to provide critical services for children and families throughout the state, we’re now getting a better idea of how each county and community has fared during the pandemic. Tentative policies and plans have become permanent, many service provider workloads have increased, and children and youth learned to adapt to a new normal. Let’s acknowledge these currents of change and the opportunities that lie ahead! Please join us Children’s Advocacy Days 2022; “Currents of Change; Rivers of Opportunity!”


CAD 2021 Agenda 

The past year brought unique and unprecedented challenges for us all. And, yet, as we have seen in other times of adversity, we witnessed the commitment and determination of so many Tennesseans. Both the public and private sectors found creative ways to work together and continue to provide critical services and supports to the many children, youth and families in our state. So, as we look to the past for lessons learned, we also look to the future for new opportunities. Let’s renew our efforts, refresh our minds and refocus our energy. Please enjoy Children’s Advocacy Days 2021!


Watch Videos from Children's Advocacy Day 2021 

2020 Children's Advocacy Days Information

Videos from 2020 Children's Advocacy Days

The Public Health Imperative of Preventing Early Adversity – Dr. Melissa Merrick, PhD, President and CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America

Census 2020 – Joseph Williams, Director of External Affairs, Office of Governor Bill Lee, Faye Anderson, Partnership Coordinator, United States Census Bureau

Systems of Care – It’s All in Your Approach – Millie Sweeney, Deputy Director, Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association

Southern Word

Compelling Conversation – Health: Dr. Morgan McDonald, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Health, and Dr. Freida Outlaw, Ex. Academic Consultant, SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program, American Nurses Association

Compelling Conversation – Children’s Services: Jennifer Nichols, JD, Commissioner, Department of Children’s Services, and Dr. Lori Messinger, Dean, University of Tennessee College of Social Work

Compelling Conversation – Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services: Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Rob Mortensen, Vice Chair, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth

Compelling Conversation – Education: Lisa Coons, Chief of Standards and Materials, Department of Education, and James Pond, President, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation

Compelling Conversation – Human Services: Danielle Barnes, JD, Commissioner, Department of Human Services, Brianna Mason, Miss Tennessee 

Compelling Conversation – TCCY: Richard Kennedy, MA, Executive Director, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Phil Acord, Chief Executive Officer, Chambliss Center for Children

Tennessee State Parks, ACE Resiliency Project, Building Strong Brains TN Innovation Grant – Sarah Green, Environmental Literacy Coordinator, Tennessee State Parks

Rural Resources Farm & Food Education Center, Building Strong Brains TN Innovation Grant – Sally
Causey, Executive Director

2019 Children's Advocacy Days Information


What's Children's Advocacy Days ?

Children’s  Advocacy Days (CAD) is an event with a 30-year history. It is an opportunity for children’s advocates, service providers and others to come together to be inspired by speakers, leaders and peers. The event draws approximately 600 individuals interested in children and family issues. CAD consists of training, networking, advocacy and celebration.