The independent agency oversea data on the well-being of children.
One of the sponsors of SB 0282, a bill that aimed to eliminate the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY), has confirmed that it will not advance this year. The bill was introduced by Senator Jack Johnson, a Republican from Franklin.
The TCCY is an independent agency that has been in existence for several decades. Among its functions, the agency collects data on the welfare of children, advocates for children in foster care, and acts as a liaison between the state and non-profit organizations that serve children. Its potential disbandment had caused concerns among those who rely on its services and advocacy.
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) expressed surprise at the proposal to disband the agency, stating that it had not been consulted on the matter. Kylie Graves, TCCY Policy Specialist and Director of Second Look Commission, said that the organization had not been involved in the decision to create Senate Bill 0282, and had not been consulted about what would happen to its programs if it were to be dissolved.
The bill was introduced just months after TCCY released its annual State of the Child report, which highlighted issues with Tennessee’s foster care system. The report found that the Department of Child Services was unstable, with a third of children in foster care experiencing three or more home placements within their first year in the system – the worst rate of instability in the country.
SB0282 proposed transferring funding from the TCCY to the Department of Children’s Services, a move that concerned advocates who relied on the TCCY’s advocacy and data collection.
Senator Jack Johnson, who introduced the bill, released a statement indicating that the legislation would not move forward this year. While acknowledging that discussions about TCCY’s efficiency were important, he emphasized that the Legislature was committed to improving the lives of children and families. The Legislature plans to invest an additional $190 million in the Department of Children’s Services and will continue to explore ways to provide efficient and effective services for children.