Governor Bill Lee appointed Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Philyaw to serve as chair of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) for the remainder of his three-year term. He joined TCCY in 2020 as a commission member.
“It’s nice anytime the Governor looks your way, but it’s more exciting to think about what we do at TCCY,” said Judge Philyaw. “I have the opportunity to be even more involved in the research and work that they do at the statewide level, and see how it affects children and families across the state.”
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth advocates to improve the quality of life for children and families, and provides leadership and support for other child and family advocates. It consists of 21 commissioners from across the state, who volunteer their time.
“The staff does a really good job up there. Historically, TCCY has lobbied the legislature and picked issues they want to champion, push hard for, or push hard against,” said Judge Philyaw. “A couple years ago, we decided to walk that back a little. Our role is not so much to lobby, but to be the experts with the information to help the legislature, Governor’s office and youth agencies make good decisions.”
Prior to his role with the Juvenile Court, Judge Philyaw worked with youth in a variety of roles. It’s important to him to advance the TCCY mission of leading systems improvement for all children and families through data-driven advocacy, education, and collaboration.
“I want to continue the great work, but I really want to take that and have the reputation of being available with the best information, the best data, the best practices,” said Judge Philyaw. “What we hope to do at TCCY is to be the repository of vast data and proven practices, and be there to provide that information and assist decision makers at every level.”
Judge Philyaw received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from Christian Brothers University. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, where he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence and the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award.
In 2015, Judge Philyaw was given the Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award by Legal Aid of East Tennessee. In 2019, he received the prestigious McCain-Abernathy Memorial Award from the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Law Judges. Judge Philyaw is a member of the Chattanooga Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Judicial Conference, and both the National and Tennessee Councils of Juvenile and Family Law Judges.