- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee is making a greater effort to place children in state custody in family settings.

A new policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation calls on child welfare agencies to increase efforts to place youth removed from their homes with relatives or foster families.

State officials and child welfare advocates held a news conference at the state Capitol this week to discuss the report.

Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jim Henry said 81 percent of children currently in state custody are in residential facilities, an increase from 61 percent in 2001.

Linda O’Neal is executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. She said children do better in all aspects of their lives when they’re connected to a strong and nurturing family.

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