With over 9,000 children in foster care today in the state of Tennessee, the number of children needing homes only continues to grow according to America’s Kids Belong. Consequently, Tennessee is facing a growing need for foster families that can support children waiting for a safe place to call home.
If you, like many others, find yourself unable to foster but still have the desire to help Tennessee children in the foster care system, we have compiled a list of resources where you can find ways to support foster children in your area. Community support is one of the most effective ways to ensure a more positive outcome for so many children and foster families in need.
What are some ways I can support a foster family in my community?
- Be a mentor.
- Provide Foster Families with a meal or create a meal train.
- Send packages for foster youth.
- Provide space to host a birthday party, game night, or movie night.
- Coordinate a supply drive.
- Hire aging-out foster youth to work in your business.
- Assist a foster family/home with home repairs.
- Become a CASA (court appointed special advocates) and advocate for Tennessee children in at risk cases.
Where do I start?
- Monroe Harding in Nashville has a list of volunteering opportunities for foster youth. You can also find a list of items that are needed most, if you are able to donate those items. Check out their website for more information on how to give your support or donate.
- Youth Villages has been providing for the physical and mental needs of children and foster families in Tennessee for many years. They have several opportunities for you to be involved in the Middle Tennessee foster care community including volunteering, mentoring, attending events, and even corporate sponsorships. Learn more about Youth Villages and how you can support them here.
- Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes has been serving children in need since 1891. They have always valued the time and services given by volunteers throughout the state of Tennessee. If you are able to provide meals, skills, time and other services, you can visit their website or contact them at [email protected] to see how you can get started.
- Partnership for Families, Children and Adults has been serving Chattanooga and its surrounding counties for over 140 years. Year after year, they continue to offer services that improve the lives of those facing crisis in their community. Find ways to volunteer and give support to their ongoing efforts. Check out PFCA’s wish lists to see how you can help provide their programs with much needed items.
- The River City Youth Collective is a program of Partnership for Families, Children and Adults that specializes in educating aging-out foster youth in areas such as: career building, financial literacy, independent living and much more. Donations from the community go to support vital programs like these.
- Holston United Methodist Children’s Home in Greenville, Tennessee is a faith-based home for fostering children and youth throughout the east Tennessee area. They provide the community with opportunities to volunteer their time to help with services like tutoring, mentoring, and group involvement. Be sure to check out the wish list of much needed items so that they can continue to provide for children in their home.
- Miriam’s Promise has been helping children, birth parents, and adoptive parents in Nashville to find solutions that can achieve successful family care. Their staff is well-known for prioritizing a safe, inclusive, non-judgmental space for people in middle Tennessee who are seeking help in times of need. Like so many other organizations, Miriam’s promise depends on the generosity of the community to help them achieve their mission. Click here to find out how to support them.
- America’s Kids Belong is a great place to find out how to make your business “foster friendly”. A Foster Friendly business is one that provides support in your community through discounts and other special offers to families that foster. If you want to find a way for your business to make a real difference in your community, this is a great place to start. Learn more about how to make your business Foster Friendly.
- Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has felt the strains of the growing needs of children and families facing crisis now more than ever. A great way to participate in the care of Tennessee’s foster children and the staff that put so much into their care is to become a certified volunteer. Click here to learn more about the DCS volunteer programs and how to contact your regional office.
You don’t have to be a foster parent to create a meaningful impact on the lives of children and foster families in Tennessee. Giving your time and resources is enough to change the entire trajectory of a child’s life. Sharing this information and creating awareness is more valuable than people may think.
*On a personal note, I would like to share that I was once a foster child in the Tennessee foster care system. It is not lost on me that had it not been for the collective efforts of my foster family, social workers, and volunteers within the community, my life would be very different today. Home holds a very special meaning for me, and I’m proud to say that part of my family will always be the volunteers of Tennessee.