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TCCY honors public official advocates, journalists

NASHVILLE, TN - Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth has honored Tennesseans for their work on behalf of Tennessee children.

Dickson County Juvenile Court Judge Michael Meise received the Senator Douglas Henry Public Official of the Year Award. Judge Meise instituted Court Appointed Special Advocate and Safe Baby Courts programs. He also trains his community on how to deal with the effects of adverse childhood experiences.

The Jim Pryor Child Advocacy Award was awarded to Kathy Benedetto, who recently retired as senior vice president of Tennessee Children’s Services for Frontier Health in East Tennessee.

Phil Acord, executive director of Chattanooga’s Chambliss Center for Children, which has six off-site centers and 12 school-based programs caring for more than 700 children was honored with the Linda O’Neal Lifetime Achievement Award.

The John Seigenthaler Making KIDS COUNT Media Award was given to:
• Mike Osborne of WMOT radio, who received the Broadcast, Small Market award;
• Mearl Purvis, WHBQ, Fox 13, who received the Broadcast, Large Market award;
• Anita Wadhwani, The Tennessean, Print Media, Large market;
• Chalkbeat Tennessee, New Media;
• Peds Pod, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, New Media, Podcast.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is an independent agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families. Information on the agency is available at

Published March 25, 2020

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