Somehow you have stumbled onto our website and you are now trying to figure out exactly who we are. Is that right? Well, first of all, we are glad you found us regardless of how you got to our site! Believe it or not, we have been around for a very long time, over 25 years to be exact! Or if you want us to sound really old, we have been around for a quarter of a century, which means, we know a thing or two about serving the citizens of Tennessee.
TNCSA actually grew out of a need to identify and provide needed services both across the state and in the local communities. In 1989 the State Legislature created 12 separate Community Service Agencies across the state of TN with the common, and somewhat broad, mission of responding to the needs of individuals, families and communities by coordinating and providing services across Tennessee under contract to state and local governments. We obtained some of the same contracts and provided many of the same services across the state but also provided separate services based on local community needs. We had 12 different offices, 12 different executive directors, 12 different fiscal directors and 12 different human resource directors and we had 95 board members, one from each of the counties in TN.
We realized that if we pulled all of our resources into one organization we would be more consistent and more cost effective in our efforts to serve the needs of the State as well as local communities. So in 2008, the 12 regions merged into one agency forming Tennessee Community Service Agency (TNCSA). We now have one executive director, one fiscal director, one human resource director and 10 governing board members, 9 who have been appointed by the Governor as a representation of the communities in which they serve, and one of which is the Commissioner’s Designee. The Board helps to advise us on contracts and day to day operations. We still have multiple offices across the state, strategically located to provide services in all 95 counties, and we continue to serve both the entire state and the local communities.
You name it, we’ve probably done it! We have a lot of programs under our belt and it would fill a three inch notebook to just list them all, however, we’ll name a few, just so you can get a better picture of what we have done and who we have served:
- Health Councils. We helped form the health councils in each county by bringing together community leaders, doctors, nurses, and others to talk about the health concerns of that particular county. We helped guide the councils until they were able to function on their own. When local residents got involved and took ownership of these councils, most of which are still in existence today, the CSAs bowed out and allowed these councils to flourish on their own. These councils have done a lot of good for the citizens of their communities by operating mobile dental units, back to school events, forums on teen pregnancy and underage drinking.
- DOC programs. We partnered with the Department of Corrections to place nurses in State prisons to coordinate health care services for inmates. We essentially provided for all health care needs other than hospitalization. Nurses were provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week and even worked in the infirmary.
- Prevention Programs. We have worked with the Diabetes Prevention and Control Initiative and the governor’s Community Prevention Initiative. We have provided Alive at 25 Safe Driving Schools, Mind over Matter: Alcohol and Drug Education; and other health-related awareness and prevention programs. We assisted with the start-up of the Anti-Drug Coalitions across the state, serving as the fiscal agent until they were able to form their own nonprofit organizations and operate independently.
- Justice System Support. We implemented juvenile drug courts and/or adult drug courts in four (4) different counties. Two of the counties chose to operate their drug courts independently after they had maintained a stable operation for a few years. We still serve two of the counties, demonstrating how we can act as an incubator or provide long-term services. We also provide probation services for misdemeanor defendants in the county court system. Because we are a nonprofit, the services can be provided at a reasonable cost and on a sliding scale, depending on the level of supervision required.
- Emergency Care: Our most notable contribution to the Tennessee has toinclude our work with the Katrina evacuees. We worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) to provide interim shelter to Katrina evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi. TNCSA helped evacuees find suitable housing, provided case management services to these evacuees, furniture, clothing and monthly stipends to help them during this national tragedy. TNCSA was “on the ground” running when this disaster occurred, helping to locate evacuees and helping them find housing while they tried to figure out what to do next.
- Outreach: TNCSA worked with former governor, Phil Bredesen, in spreading the word about Cover TN, CoverKids, CoverRx and Access TN. CoverTN was Governor Bredesen’s initiative to provide health care coverage to all Tennesseans which is both affordable and portable. TNCSA helped enroll individuals in this health care plan, answered questions and provided materials at local community fairs, councils and health events throughout Tennessee.
- Americorps: Our Americorps programs included School Achievement Partnership Project, Partners Achieving School Success, Promise Fellow and Tennessee Promise Fellows.
- DCS Services: We contracted with the Department of Children’s Services for over 10 years, providing a variety of interventions for families with children who were at risk of coming into state custody. These services were provided to individuals involved with the Department of Children’s Services through our Family Support Services and Family Crisis Intervention Program and other in- home support and advocacy services. TNCSA provided hands-on services such as teaching people how to clean their house, how to budget their money, more effective ways to go grocery shopping. Case managers connected families to community resources, helping them locate parenting classes and other educational opportunities and also provided support and counseling directly in their home where it was safe and convenient for the family. We helped hundreds of parents who were young and inexperienced; families that were dealing with crisis caused by financial hardships; families struggling with drug abuse or health issues and families coping with children who were having difficulty navigating the waters of childhood and adolescence. We offered in- home counseling services, supported parents by attending court or school meetings with them and even provided financial assistance for immediate needs such as food, clothing or help getting the lights turned back on. TNCSA has helped families find a way to be the safe haven where their children were free to be “kids” and where children would want to come because it was safe and healthy.
So as you can see, we have been around a very long time and have a lot of experience in a lot of different programs. As stated before, we could not list all of the programs, but wanted to highlight just a few. If you have a need in your community, we would love to be involved in helping you find solutions. If you are a state agency and need to contract out services, you can contract directly with us without going through the RFP process. We will work with you to help develop the best services to meet your needs as well as the needs of the individuals or families you serve.