NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Advocates say the annual Kids Count report shows that
spending money early on in life will save money long term. However, often times
those preventative programs are the first to be cut.
The new report takes a closer look at how money from the state helps improve
the lives of children.
Family support worker Ashley Kyle makes several house calls to check on new
mothers and their babies. NewsChannel5 was with her for a visit with Katerrace
Shepherd and her new baby.
"I need(ed) it a lot during my pregnancy and I need it more now,"
Shepherd said of Kyle's help.
Kyle provides encouragement and support, but also makes sure Shepherd has
what she needs to raise her children in a healthy home.
"She helped me with my finances (and) parenting skills," says Shepherd.
"I know a lot of parenting skills but some stuff I'm still learning."
They are all preventative measures to stop any potential problems before
they even start.
"It's preventing infant mortality and giving educational material so
they will know. So they will be educated and informed about making better
choices for the children," says Kyle.
Interventions cost Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee $4,000 per family each
year. The agency says $1 spent now saves $8 in other costs before the child
becomes an adult.
"She takes the time and talks to me. Words can't explain,"
Shepherd says through her tears. "That's how I feel deep down
For Shepherd and her family that time is priceless.
The family support workers assist families until the child is five years
old. They set goals for the mother, and help them become more self-sufficient.
The annual Kids Count report lists health, education and child welfare
statistics by county. Another report that shows how Tennessee compares to other
states will be released in July.