Tennessee’s Commission on Children and Youth has released its county profiles of child well-being in Tennessee for the year 2020.
At 51st, Coffee County in the bottom half of Tennessee counties in child well-being. Some of the county’s strongest rankings include a high median household income and a relatively low rate of school suspensions.
Coffee County has 25.1 percent of children living in poverty – which ranks 56th out of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Tennessee has an average of one in five children living in poverty. The lowest percentage is in Williamson County (3.6 percent) and the highest percentage is in Lake County (41.2 percent).
The county’s biggest challenges are its above-average rate of babies born at a low birth weight and its relatively low high school graduation rate. Additional strengths include below-average rates of children lacking health insurance and of school suspensions Additional opportunities for improvement include an above-average percentage of children living in poverty and a low rate of 3rd to 8th grade children rated proficient in math on TNReady tests. Policy/Practice/Program Options to Improve Outcomes. Many of these policies have multiple models for delivery, including public-private partnership and non-profit leadership.
* Low birth weight is a persistent and difficult problem, but improvements can occur when care is made available for chronic physical and mental health and substance abuse conditions for women of childbearing age.
*Making high school students aware of the community college and technical school benefits available to them through Tennessee Promise can encourage on-time high school graduation.
* With a high rate of child poverty, improving outreach to those who may qualify to receive SNAP and WIC benefits to be sure they are aware of these services can help ensure basic needs are met.
Additionally, nutrition programs that provide food for school-age children to take home can contribute to food security. Expanding services through Family Resource Centers can also help reach these vulnerable populations.
* Expanding pre-K access and increasing STEM opportunities in elementary and middle schools can help improve 3rd to 8th grade math proficiency