In the state of Tennessee, 8,000 children are in foster care and approximately 350 of the kids don’t have identified adoptive homes. Nationwide, and in our state, most children available for adoption are teenagers and in 2019, less than 5% of the children adopted aged 15 to 18 years old. Children have a much higher chance of adulthood success if they have an adoptive family than if they turn 18 years old before being adopted.
At Youth Villages, we work with foster-to-adopt families and children to find the best matches. Both the family and the children go through extensive training and therapy before the placement occurs. Most often, teens in foster care have experienced extensive trauma such as abuse, abandonment, and isolation, and most have fallen behind socially or academically. With therapy and intensive emotional and behavioral support, teens and their adoptive family can find a good way to communicate and live harmoniously.
Collaborative Problem Solving is one of those innovative techniques. It is an evidence-based intervention that gets to the root of disruptive behaviors; the whys behind the acting out at school and home. Once the cause is identified, counselors, children and families can begin to develop treatment plans and communication models to work together. While foster and adoptive families are likely to benefit the most from such therapy, any family or relationship could use this model to help with communication barriers.
Nearly 80% of the children who are adopted from foster care in our state are adopted by their foster parents. There is a continued need for both foster and adoptive parents. So, if adoption is not your calling, instead think about being a safe, caring adult for a young person by fostering. Foster care can be the bridge back to family. You can support adoptive and foster family homes in your community by providing a meal or helping to run errands, donating your gently used children items, or offering a listening ear to parents and kids alike.
Anyone with the capacity to provide a safe, stable, and caring home can be a foster or adoptive 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
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 www.youthvillages.org.
Crisis services are available 24/7 if your child needs support; call 855-CRISIS-1 or text CONNECT to 741741. For resources on coping with mental health struggles, visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline or National Alliance for Mental Illness.