Foster Care Crisis in Knoxville
Submitted by our partner organization, Childhelp
If you read the paper or listen to the news at all, then you probably know that the demand for more excellent foster homes is needed more than ever. Those stories about children sleeping in DCS offices - those are true, and that is not the way things should be. The Department of Children’s Services (DCS) has nearly 600 statewide vacancies in the foster care workforce, there are over 9,000 children in foster care in Tennessee, and there are only about 150 foster homes for the more than 600 children we have in care in Knox County alone.
Fortunately, you can be part of the solution, and Childhelp wants to help you succeed! When you are approved as a foster parent, we work with you to decide what type of children are the best fit for your home, and then we work to honor that request as best we can! Here are the most common “hard to find placements” right now:
- Children who have completed residential programs and need to step-down into foster homes before they transition home
- Children 13 years of age and older
- Sibling groups of 3 or more!
Not every referral we receive at Childhelp is a good match for us, and some of the children we see referred have challenges that cause us to question if those children are ready and safe to function in a community-based setting. But, many of the referrals we see are a great match for us - we just do not have a home to put them in because our Childhelp foster homes are all full. Here are some things you can do to help:
1. If you know a family or friend who is interested in fostering, please have them call Amy Carr at (865) 257-5601.
2. If you have a child in your home currently but have an “open bed”, please consider when/if another child would work in your household (for you AND for the child your currently love and serve).
3. Pray that the Lord will raise up more families to foster and help heal children and families.
4. Pray for and support the staff who are called to do this important work - Childhelp staff, DCS staff, staff from other agencies and support organizations, etc.
Fostering is all about permanency – and the goal is to help heal that child and family so they can be safely reunified. If that is not possible, we work to find a forever home for that child through adoption. Fostering is not about filling a need for you or me. It is always about the best interest of the children we serve. It is a worthy calling, but it is not easy. Not everyone can foster, but everyone can do something to help! Please spread the word.