Foster Care Q&A with Youth Villages

By Youth Villages on 10th May 2024

May is National Foster Care Month, and approximately 391,000 kids across the country are currently in foster care, with more than 8,000 of those children in Tennessee. There is always a need for more families to provide safe, loving homes for these kids, but it can be an intimidating role to take on.

We sat down with Rachel Justice and Jaclyn Lynch, foster care training supervisors at Youth Villages in Middle Tennessee, who have almost 20 years of experience with foster care combined. They provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from prospective foster parents and share insights into how families are supported throughout the process.

What training is involved before opening my home to foster children?

We offer extensive training to our new foster parents, which includes ten training classes and home visits for safety check and readiness. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, along with partnering agencies, require this training to be a foster parent. At Youth Villages’ Therapeutic Foster Care program, we require two additional trainings focused on trauma, so parents are better equipped to build trust and care for children who have experienced more hardship.

Our goal is to have home certifications completed 30-60 days after parents complete the classes. Once a foster child is placed in the home, the parents and the child meet with a Youth Villages therapeutic counselor one to three times a week, or as needed.

Parents are never alone; Youth Villages professionals will guide them through any situation 24-hours a day.

Who makes a good foster parent?

Foster parents can come in so many shapes and sizes. Foster parents with Youth Villages must live in Tennessee and be legally employed or have verifiable income above the poverty line. They can be single, married for at least one year, or cohabitating with a partner for at least three years. They must be 25 years old with a driver’s license and reliable transportation and housing. That’s it!

We need all types of foster parents, but those who have open hearts and flexibility to support a child in foster care are ideal. Having a good sense of humor, patience and the ability to persevere are always good pluses too. Our recruiters can answer all questions around qualifying factors.

What kind of foster homes are there?

There are many kinds of needs. Many children are in foster care until they can safely reunite with their families, some are seeking an adoptive “forever home,” while some need short-term respite care for weekends or week-long stays. In many instances, fostering is not about adoption, but providing support for a child and a family until they can be reunited.

What are your biggest fostering needs?

We need foster parents for teens more than any other age group now. Fostering a teen can be rewarding and make life-long impacts for you and the foster child, such as teaching life skills, teaching them how to drive or even helping them graduate from high school.

If you are interested in learning more about fostering, visit or call 1-888-MY-YV-KID.

Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at

Crisis services are available 24/7 if your child needs support. Call 855-CRISIS-1 or text CONNECT to 741741. If you have thoughts of suicide, contact 988 to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.



Join PURE Living Nashville, here’s what you’ll receive:

  • Information and advice that you won’t find in the magazine or on the website.
  • Special Subscribers only offer to local products and services.
  • Early News on Local events.
  • News on local providers and healthcare services.
  • Discounts on seminars and events we run.
  • Early access to our regular competitions and give aways.
  • PLUS our information packed guide to.
All you need to know from Acupuncture to Yoga in this amazing reference source. You’ll get the link to download it as soon as you join PURE Living Nashville.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.