The following is a press release:
Right now in Tennessee, there are almost 8,000 children in foster care and the number continues to rise. Many of these children have experienced trauma due to abuse and/or neglect and are placed in custodial care. May is Foster Care Awareness Month and child welfare agencies, like Youth Villages, are stepping up their efforts to recruit foster families to provide homes for these youth.
“Children in foster care are like all kids; they need love, kindness, support, and encouragement,” said Rachel Justice, foster care recruiting supervisor at Youth Villages. “These kids have been removed from everything they know and need a caring adult who can offer them a safe and secure environment, provide consistency and patience, and be understanding during their greatest time of need.”
Youth Villages is looking for people from all backgrounds to provide safe and supportive homes for the children in their care.
“Foster parents change lives every day,” Justice said. “They help children learn to develop trust, self-esteem and the emotional skills they need to be successful and reach their full potential.”
The organization’s greatest need is finding foster parents for teenagers. Currently, 1,000 Middle Tennessee teens will age out of foster care each year without any family support and face increased risks of homelessness, incarceration, addiction, and unemployment.
“Our kids never outgrow the need for family, and even when we are first on our own, many of us find ourselves reaching back to our family for help and advice,” Justice said. “Parenting teenagers is an opportunity to be a role model, share life experiences, and provide to a young person, which can ultimately help heal communities and change generations.”
Youth Villages recruits, trains, certifies and supports foster parents across the state. The organization provides 24/7 on-call support along with counseling services to the child and foster parents in their program.
“Our foster parents are never alone in this process. We provide evidence-based services to help children reach their full potential, and we believe a stable family and strong support system can help any child succeed,” Justice said.
Fostering is a powerful way to help a young person in your community. If you would like more information, please visit www.youthvillages.org/foster or call 1-888-MY-YV-KID.