All children need a loving, safe, stable and supportive home. According to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, approximately 8,000 children in our state are in foster care and almost 800 children are in full guardianship and are available for adoption. There is a great need to find forever homes for these kids, and since November is Adoption Awareness Month, we’ll shed a little light on the process with Youth Villages, even in the time of COVID-19. Later this month, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, also marks National Adoption Day.
When it is determined that their household situation is no longer safe, we help place children in foster care, some of whom have experienced emotional childhood trauma, abuse and/or neglect. Most of the children in our foster care program range from ages 5 – 18, though we do occasionally have even younger children in need of foster care. They have received counseling from Youth Villages’ counselors and foster care professionals. Fostering a child is the first step toward adoption through Youth Villages. The process is similar with other agencies.
Through the home study process, Youth Villages works with both the child and the adopting family to find a good match for each party. We help the family through the process of becoming a certified foster home, filling out proper paperwork and facilitating face-to-face meetings when ready.
Since COVID-19 mitigation efforts were initiated in March this year, Youth Villages has implemented live virtual learning to help those families interested in foster care and adoption. We are allowing orientation to take place online, as well as in person following social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
Approximately 80% of the children who are adopted from foster care in Tennessee are adopted by their foster parents. There is a continued need for both foster and adoptive parents, so if adoption is not your calling but you can be a safe, caring adult for a young person, foster care can be the bridge back to family.
Anyone with the capacity to provide a stable and caring home can be a foster parent; single parents, couples with or with children, same-sex couples and older couples.
You can learn more through Youth Villages or call 1-888-MY-YV-KID
Brittany Farrar is the regional director of Middle Tennessee programs and Tennessee Specialized Crisis Services for Youth Villages. Visit Youth Villages or call 1-888-MY-YV-KID for information about foster care and adoption. Crisis services are still available 24/7 if your child needs support. Youth Villages is available and prepared to assist your family during the time by calling 866-791-9222 to reach Youth Villages Specialized Crisis.