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Foster Care

Foster a little hope.

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Foster Care Stories

We Are A Force For Families®

How foster families build relationships that nurture a youth’s well-being, culture and identity

No matter the circumstances, every child deserves a chance to grow up in a loving and stable home. In cases where it is not safe for a child to remain with their family, they are placed with temporary caregivers for a few weeks, months or sometimes longer while their...

Wirtala family finds purpose through foster care

Youth Villages’ mission is to help children and their families live successfully, and a big part of achieving that goal is keeping the family together. Sometimes, though, families are unable to remain together — either for a while or longer — due to circumstances in the home.

Memphis Parent – May is National Foster Care Month

When children enter the foster care system, the priority is to find a path to permanency – whether through adoption or reunification with their biological family. Often, children are placed in foster care for a short time while the best next steps are determined.

Daytime Tri-Cities – May is National Foster Care Month

Foster Parent Amber McKee and Hayley Mosteller with Youth Villages, discuss the need for more Foster Care in our region.

Fourth Grader Sets and Achieves Goals Through Youth Villages’ Foster Care Program

To protect the privacy of children in the foster care system, the names and identifying details have been changed. In 2022, 8-year-old Tommy entered the foster care program at Youth Villages with concerns of needing life-long assistance due to developmental delays....

Family exemplifies spirit of Thanksgiving, fostering more than 30 children over 6 years

Beyond the good food, for many of us the Thanksgiving celebration is also about family. One Murfreesboro couple deeply understands that children need a feeling of belonging at all times.

‘It’s a calling’: Nashville couple fosters children with complex medical issues

As Thanksgiving nears, a Nashville couple is giving thanks that their family looks different than they ever expected.

Bingham’s family expands through foster care, adoption

It’s National Adoption Month, and Youth Villages has more than 100 children that need a forever home in Tennessee. There is a need for more families to open their hearts and homes to adopting children so they can receive care and support.

From Fostering to Adopting: The Phelps’ Unexpected Story

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. More than 8,000 children in the state of Tennessee need safe and loving temporary or permanent homes. Foster families have the opportunity to provide this and create a lasting impact on young people. When navigating their journey, foster parents provide guidance and support for youth to safely travel their path.

Transition-age young adults discuss their experiences at U.S. Senate Caucus on Foster Care

A diverse group of young adults with lived experience in child welfare systems came together to share their experiences and push for the services and support that all transition-age foster youth need in Washington, D.C., recently.

A look into what it’s like to be a foster parent during Foster Care Awareness month

Brian and Michelle Armstrong already had an interest in becoming a foster home, but their desire was piqued when Brian reached out to do a Youth Villages story on Adoption Awareness Month in November 2021

BottRadio – National Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and Youth Villages was invited to go on BottRadio…

‘Children just need parents’ Morristown couple hoping to inspire more foster parents

Tim and Mary Molamphy have served as foster caregivers for nearly 30 years. Over that time, they have been on a journey…

Family gives back by opening home to foster care

Families who foster come in many shapes and sizes and enter foster care for different reasons. For George and Tracy Young, what began as a general interest in foster care turned into a way to become involved in their community.

Different Kinds of Foster Families

May has long been recognized as Foster Care Month. Nationwide, more than 390,000 kids need a foster family, and in Tennessee, more than 8,000 kids need foster homes with approximately 4,000 foster homes available.

Foster Care Awareness Month

May has long been recognized as Foster Care Awareness Month. Nationwide, more than 390,000 kids need a foster family and in Tennessee, more than 8,000 kids need foster homes with approximately 4,000 homes available.

Helping foster families succeed

The state of foster care in Tennessee is in crisis. More children than ever need temporary, safe homes compared to the amount of open foster homes. Nationwide, a child is placed into foster care every two minutes, so the need is great. In Tennessee, more than 8,000 kids are in the foster care system with only around 4,000 certified foster homes available.

New law aims to help guide young adults who are aging out of foster care

The transition from childhood to adulthood can be a lot to handle alone, but it’s very much a reality for people in the foster care system. Around 20,000 age out of the system every year,

Foster care extension prepares TN young adults who ‘age out’ of system

Lawmakers recently passed legislation making extended foster care available to more youth in Tennessee. This means that more young adults who ‘age out’ of the foster care system, usually at the age of 18, are now eligible for an extension of foster care services until they turn 21.

A change of plans leads to adoption

Plans can change in a variety of ways. That was the case for Amy Abbott. Amy was looking for an opportunity to give back to the community, and she found that in fostering.

How Do You Qualify for Foster Care?

At Youth Villages, we always welcome individuals who would like to offer their services as foster parents. Fostering is not an easy task. However, you get to provide a home for a child who has been displaced from their own for any number of reasons. Aside from being a caring and loving guardian, there are specific legal requirements you must pass before qualifying as a foster parent. Those include:

  • Age: The minimum age requirement is 21 years. Some states allow foster parents who are at least 18 years old.
  • Income: To become a foster parent, you must prove that you have a regular source of income that places you well above the poverty line. Foster parents can work away from home. However, if the foster child requires daycare, you must provide it out of pocket.
  • Background checks: All applicants must submit to a criminal background check for themselves and their family members. You should not have a felony or misdemeanor convictions relating to child or elder abuse or sexual assault.
  • Proof of marriage or divorce: This doesn’t mean single parents are discouraged from applying. However, some states will not certify a home with unmarried adult partners unless they are relatives.
  • Home assessment: This check of your living quarters ensures that the applicant’s home has enough room to house a foster child. Other family members will also be assessed to determine the state and stability of their home environment. 
  • Fill out an application: The most important step to becoming a foster care parent is filling out an application. Our staff at Youth Villages are here to help guide you through the process. Remember to attend all training sessions coordinated in your area. These sessions will help you be the best parent to a needy child.
What to Expect from the Foster Care Process

The foster care system is designed to provide temporary homes for needy children. The length of time a child stays under your care depends on specific factors, such as the ease of finding their biological parents or relatives or the presence of an adopting family. 

Foster care is different for every parent. While some people have always known that one day they would like to contribute to society through foster care and adoption, others found their calling later in life. 

While getting into foster care is unique for every individual, some common experiences are shared by all foster and adoptive parents. For example, it doesn’t matter which state you come from; all aspiring foster parents will be taken through a background check and a home assessment. The adoption agency needs to ensure your home can provide a safe and comfortable stay for the foster child. 

You need to be patient because these processes take time and matching you with a child takes even longer. Most foster parents describe the waiting time as the most stressful and hardest part of the journey. Take heart in knowing that you are not alone in this. Once the wait is over and you can finally be assigned a child to foster, you will find the experience worth the wait. Don’t worry about the jitters; our child welfare workers at Youth Villages will always be there to help guide you.

How to Sign Up for Foster Care
  1. The first step to becoming a foster parent is to determine if you are eligible. Specific criteria are met to be eligible for this type of work.
  2. Begin the process by calling a local agency or organization that handles the foster care program in your state and county. Explain your level of interest, and they will share information with you on how to begin the process.
  3. Contact your county’s Social Services Department or Child Protective Services, who will forward you to agencies in your area that handle foster care placements. The agency will run an extensive background check on both members of the household, including personal interviews and criminal records check, as well as home visits before allowing you to take part in caring for foster children.
  4. Once approved and placement has been found, the agency will arrange for you to spend time at the foster home and help you prepare for your first week. The agency will also help you obtain the necessary training. The type of training depends on the age of the children but usually includes classes in first aid, nutrition, child development, and discipline; this is not a substitute for their parent’s involvement with their children but is an integral part of their care.
  5. Depending on the state, you must start as early as two weeks before officially beginning caring for a child. In most states, you will work with the agency while they go through the legal process of gaining custody of the child. This process usually takes many months, so be prepared to take on the role of a foster parent during this time.
  6. Once you are officially approved to care for a particular child, you will become their guardian and have legal rights to care for them and all their needs.

Virtual Info Sessions

Are you interested in learning more about fostering and/or adopting? Join us for an info session where you’ll have the opportunity to connect with the staff and learn more about the process. Anyone is welcome to attend. Click on a session in your region below to register.

If you have any questions or can’t make any of the sessions, please call us at 1-888-MY-YV-KID or submit an inquiry here.

If these times do not work with your schedule or if you have any other questions, please give us a call 1-888-MY-YV-KID.

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