KIDS COUNT ranks counties on child well-being

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Locally, steps are being made in the right direction.

That is the message that was released by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) recently about the KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee 2016 which focused on county ranking and work on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).

This year’s indicators were different compared to last year’s report according to Jill Stott, TCCY northeast regional coordinator. Tennessee has spent over a year implementing “Building Strong Brains” – the state’s initiative to address ACES.

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“This is part of a statewide campaign that’s been going on for about 18 months now,” Stott told the Elizabethton Star. “There are 500 individuals that are trained in addressing ACES and have gone into every region on how to address the issue.”

According to information provided by TCCY, the original ACES study focused on “child abuse and neglect and family dysfunction, and revealed the prevalence of these conditions, even in families that appear to be prospering.”

In this most recent report, ACES were discussed, along with health, education, economic well-being and family and community. Carter County ranked 66th in the report.

“Last year, Carter County ranked 30th, but the new report has different indicators compared from last year’s,” Stott said. “There have been areas where Carter County has improved on.”

One of the biggest areas was in teen pregnancies, Stott said. Last year the county ranked 59th but the 2016 report indicated the county moved up to 20th.

“It really says a lot about the work going on locally and the statewide initiations,” Stott said. The Carter County Health Department is also on the forefront working with families to help address the issue, the coordinator added.

Children in the county also ranked well in the report when it comes to health insurance. The county is first in the state in regards to children without health insurance with only a little over 200 without insurance.

NAS and prenatal care stayed roughly the same compared to last year’s report, Stott added, but added programs such as HUGS and the newly-created pilot Nurse Family Partnership, are two ways families can help address the issue.

The county dipped slightly compared to the previous report with an 86.7 graduation rate, compared to 91.6.

In proficiency, third to eighth-grade reading was at 45.5 percent while math was a little over 51 percent.

The median income for the county in the report was $35,053 while child poverty was at 33.1 percent.

It’ll take steps, Stott added, but pieces are getting put into place with different programs going on at the state level, including Tennessee Promise, to help address economic well-being.

“It may not be immediate, but steps are being put into place by the state to alleviate poverty,” Stott said. “There are so many different programs available for families in the region and the state implementing Tennessee Promise will also help with economic standing. We’re expecting to see this growth like how health grew.”

Tennessee ranked 35th in the state during the recent nationwide in health, up 25 spots from the previous ranking.

Visit / to view the full report and more initiatives going on within the state.