Tuscaloosa County, Alabama

  • Community name:  Tuscaloosa County
  • Website:  http://www.tuscco.com/
  • Population:  195,036
  • Graduation rate:  82.0%
  • Youth poverty rate:  23.6%


Three-time 100 Best winner Tuscaloosa County was recognized for its continued focus on and expansion of educational, health and civic initiatives for youth. Through a partnership with the district attorney’s office and the local sheriff’s office, Tuscaloosa city schools implemented Helping Education/ Linking Parents (HELP) to decrease students’ discipline problems and improve their retention and graduation rates. The county also hosts programs to support healthy youth development, such as FocusFirst. Sponsored by the University of Alabama, this program offers free vision screenings for children six months to five-years-old who are eligible for Head Start programs or are from low-income households. The county has also launched two mobile health programs, the Maude Whatley Health Clinic mobile van and Kid One Transport, which provides medical and dental services to families and children with limited or no transportation options.

Community Programs

  • Rural Infant Stimulation Environment (RISE) provides pre-school education as well as occupational, physical and speech therapy for children with multiple disabilities.
  • Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) addresses the efficiency and effectiveness of juvenile detention to decrease juvenile detention rates without increasing crime or sacrificing safety.
  • Helping Education/ Linking Parents (HELP) is a collaboration among the city’s schools, district attorney’s office and city of Tuscaloosa to prevent students’ further disciplinary infractions that require out-of-school suspensions by implementing a three-part series of disciplinary warnings and hearings.
  • FocusFirst is “an Alabama student vision initiative” in which undergraduate and graduate students conduct vision screenings for children between six months and five-years-old in Head Start programs or of low-income backgrounds.  
  • The Maude Whatley Health Clinic has implemented a mobile health unit to provide medical and dental services to residents in a 10-county service area who have unreliable transportation.
  • Kid One Transport a national program that provides transportation to medical care for expectant mothers and children who have limited or no transportation.
  • YMCA After School is a recreational after-school program at Tuscaloosa County’s local YMCA affiliates.

Youth Voices

“My neighbors’ kind deeds have ensured that my future will be bright. I now know that I have a duty to give back to community.”


“For many people, Tuscaloosa is all about athletics, especially football, but it so much more than that. It is a place where youth can truly find themselves and learn to make a difference in their community.”