TN Voices History

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  • TN Voices operated informally with meetings that included the participation of key stakeholders in the field of child mental health. Tipper Gore chaired this group.
  • TN Voices was organized in 1986 by Tipper Gore as a statewide coalition of individuals, agencies, and organizations working together as a Steering Council to promote children’s mental health services.


  • TN Voices sponsored a series of four public policy forums entitled, “Children’s Issues in the ’90’s.”
  • TN Voices became a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization with a Board of Directors and Advisory Council.
  • In September of 1993, Tipper Gore announced that TN Voices had received additional funding for a three-year grant administered by the Federal Center for Mental Health Services to pursue the development and implementation of a Statewide Family Support Network for families with children impacted by emotional and behavioral difficulties.
  • At the end of 1993, Tipper Gore resigned as chair of TN Voices and Ann Ince assumed this role of the steering council, and Lisa McInturf was hired as Executive Director.


  • In 1995, Charlotte Bryson came on board as TN Voices Executive Director.
  • In 1996, TN Voices most powerful conference, “State of the Child” made its debut. The three-day conference is still held bi-annually and is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of Tennessee’s children.
  • In 1997, the Children’s Mental Health Week Celebration was held for the first time. This week is designed for public awareness of children’s mental health issues and includes depression screening as well as a festival at the Nashville Zoo.
  • In 1998, TN Voices and the Regional Intervention program received a collaborative grant from the Frist Foundation for shared media and TN Voices library began.
  • In 1999, the Board of Directors members voted unanimously that the Board should be comprised of a minimum of 51% of parents and family members whose lives are touched by emotional and behavioral disorders. This step truly made TN Voices a family-driven organization. Also in 1999, TN Voices received a $12 million dollars/six-year grant for the Nashville Connection. This program became one of the flagships of TN Voices' work of bringing a system of care to Tennessee.

The 2000’s

  • Moving into the early 2000’s, TN Voices continued to grow. TN Voices currently employs 50 full and part-time employees.
  • TN Voices continues to present the biennial State of the Child conference while co-sponsoring others including the Youth Violence and Parenting as Prevention conferences.
  • TN Voices has implemented a Youth Council as a joint effort between the Statewide Family Support Network and the System of Care grants.
  • In 2005, TN Voices received the Claiming Children Award from the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.
  • In 2007, TN Voices purchased 701 Bradford Ave. building in Nashville, TN. TN Voices strives to meet its mission and goals by providing forums, conferences, education, and training to parents, professionals, policymakers, business and community leaders.
  • TN Voices is a contributing partner in the state’s efforts to develop and refine policy regarding children with mental health needs and their families.
  • TN Voices is a voting member of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Planning Council.
  • In 2008, TN Voices was awarded a contract from Memphis City Council to provide a neighborhood system of care program, JustCare 180, to divert children from the court system; the program had a 90% success rate in preventing further youth involvement in juvenile court.
  • In 2011, TN Voices became the statewide chapter of Youth M.O.V.E. National.
  • In 2013, Charlotte Bryson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation of Families at their 2013 Conference.
  • In January of 2014, Charlotte Bryson retired as the Executive Director of TN Voices.
  • In February of 2014, Rikki Harris was named Chief Executive Officer at TN Voices. A position she currently holds.
  • TN Voices staff and family members are represented on the Mental Health Regional Planning Councils, the advisory boards of the original behavioral health organizations, and the Children’s Committee of the Mental Health Planning Council.
  • TN Voices plays an active role in the Children’s Mental Health Council which is charged with implementing a statewide system of care for children with mental health needs.
  • In 2016, TN Voices held it’s inaugural Green Ribbon Gala at The Westin in Nashville, TN.
  • In March of 2017, TN Voices purchased a new home at 500 Professional Park Drive in Goodlettsville, TN.
  • In May of 2017, TN Voices achieved Three-Year Accreditation from the International Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).