In Tennessee, approximately 8,000 children are in foster care at any given time. With fewer than 4,000 foster families, the need is ever-present; even during the coronavirus pandemic. Many children enter foster care with no belongings and have suffered the effects of abuse, poverty, neglect or even the death of their loved ones.
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and still, at this time in our country, a new child is placed into care every two minutes. The need for support services, essential items and foster parents is high. Using nationwide statistics, only half of youth in foster care graduate from high school; one in five will experience homelessness within one year of turning 18 while in foster care, and more than 70% of inmates incarcerated were in the foster care system at some point. Typically, young people are removed from their parents’ custody through no fault of their own. The addition of a single caring adult can drastically impact a young person’s outcome. You can see the need is great, and the need for committed, stable foster care parents is even greater.
The reality is not all kids are safe in their own homes. There is very much a continued need for foster families to be safety nets for these children. During the safer at home, coronavirus crisis, potential foster families are likely finding themselves at a loss for how to get involved in the foster care process.
Youth Villages helps place children in foster care. Due to coronavirus mitigation efforts, Youth Villages has started to implement live virtual learning to help those families interested in foster care. Typically, interested families meet in person with a trainer to learn about the process and how to be successful foster parents. However, under the circumstances, we are allowing this learning to take place online and with social distancing protocols for one-on-ones.
Foster families can be single parents, couples with or without children, older couples; just about any household with room to care for and support foster children. The most important qualification is the ability to keep a child in need safe and provide a stable and caring environment.
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. 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. Visit Youth Villages or call 1-888-MY-YV-KID.for information about foster care and COVID-19 or The Children’s Bureau under U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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