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CMA's Child Impact Statement Reporting System Now Implemented by Shelby County Officials University News
For release: February 11, 2010

For press information, contact Simone Notter Wilson (901) 678-4164

Shelby County recently launched a new Web application designed and developed by the University of Memphis' Center for Multimedia Arts. Earlier this week, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to mandate Child Impact Statements on proposed resolutions and ordinances coming before the commission. While several county and joint county/city agencies were already employing child impact statements on a voluntary basis, the commission's mandate will greatly expand the use and benefits of child impact statements countywide.

"The Child Impact Statement reporting system (CISRS) is a policy creation, planning, and evaluation application containing a suite of information and decision-making tools designed to frame local policy around the needs of children and families," says Michael Schmidt, CMA director and associate professor of art at the U of M. The first child impact statement was submitted this past October as part of a proposal to provide free child passenger safety seats to low-income families.

In an effort to facilitate greater responsiveness by local government and further informed planning and decision-making by its elected officials, division administrators, and mayoral appointees, the Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth (OECY) partnered with the University of Memphis to develop the child and youth-focused planning and decision aid. The University's centers for Urban Child Policy and Multimedia Arts combined their expertise, to develop the Shelby County Child Impact Statement Reporting System.

The goal of this Web-based application, and of child impact statements in general, is to generate systemic changes in thinking, planning, and decision-making to improve the overall community by valuing foremost the conditions, experiences, and opportunities of its children and youth. It is the first Web-based application of it's kind in the United States, and is designed to improve the quality of information available to decision-makers including members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, other elected officials, and employees of Shelby County Government.

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