With a wide-variety of influencers on board, we can combine a number of our proven methods to help meet needs within the foster care system. Since beginning work in Tennessee, alongside numerous faith leaders, government workers, foster advocates, artists & creatives, as well as a host of generous donors, we’ve already seen amazing things happen.
MEETING THE NEEDS OF TENNESSEE CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
You’re probably wondering if a problem so large is really SOLVABLE.
We’ve been there, too.
But we’re happy to tell you that with two proven models and a first-of-its-kind solution, the answer is YES. Regardless of your occupation, skillset, and life stage, you have the unique ability & opportunity to impact the lives of children in foster care.
Our state has well over 7,000 children who are in the foster care system through no fault of their own. Of these children, on any given day nearly 350 are legally-free for adoption and are waiting for their forever family. The rest of the children need a loving, safe, and supportive foster family to care for them while they wait to go home to their biological families.
When children age-out of the system at 18 without a family, they are significantly more likely to experience homelessness, crisis pregnancy, unemployment, incarceration, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Trafficking.
The Solution Is…
It takes a village. Countless influencers from different backgrounds, with unique strengths and passions all in the same boat, and all rowing in the same direction.
Together we can give Tennessee’s children a face, a voice, and a pathway to belonging – through reunification with their birth families, and when that’s not possible – adoption through foster care.
HOW IT WORKS
The TNFosters Campaign
Tennessee Kids Belong served as the spearheading partner in the launch of the TNFosters Campaign alongside Governor Bill Haslam, First Lady Crissy Haslam and The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, and other community partners.
The TNFosters Campaign’s goal is to recruit more foster and foster-to-adopt families, as well as support for these families.
The “I Belong Project”
One of Tennessee Kids Belong’s signature programs is the I Belong Project™, which uses high quality videography to give children in foster care a face and a voice. These videos serve as individual recruitment tools for foster children who are legally-free for adoption and are waiting for their forever family.
Since launching the Tennessee chapter of the I Belong Project™ in June of 2016, together with The Department of Children’s Services and Heart Gallery of Tennessee, we have created individualized videos for over 200 Tennessee children who are legally free for adoption and waiting for their forever family.
**These videos represent just a sample of the amazing Tennessee kids we’ve had the honor of working with. We’re happy to report that some of these children have already found adoptive placements, but for videos of children who are currently available, please use the Meet Our Kids Button.
Wrap Around Ministry
Our Wrap Around Ministry model gives everyone the opportunity to say “Yes” to serving children in foster care. From dropping off a meal to providing lawn care or tutoring, there are countless ways to help support a foster or adoptive family. The Wrap Around Model was launched earlier this year in Tennessee and has since grown to serve as a template for other church ministries and groups.
DISCOVER YOUR ROLE
Every day we meet more individuals and families who are considering taking the leap to become foster parents. We know you probably have a lot of questions and would need more answers before committing. That’s normal.
Just don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from moving forward. Call The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services today. They will walk you through the process, help answer any of your questions along the way, and assist you in determining if becoming a foster parent is a fit for you.
Discover Your Role Today!
Not everyone is called to foster or adopt. But everyone can make a difference in the life of a child in foster care.
What is Your Sphere of Influence?
- Dedicate a sermon or sermon series to educate & engage your congregation around the needs of foster care
- Host a “Next Steps” Dinner and Foster Certification classes at your church for prospective foster parents
- Start a “Wrap Around” ministry to equip your church in serving foster families
- Get involved in the TNFosters Campaign – Click the Get Involved Button
- Champion legislation that improves outcomes for children in foster care
- Partner with the child welfare system to improve outcomes for children in foster care
- Engage your workplace in the movement
- Make your business “foster friendly” (think Military Discounts for Foster Families!)
- Donate to help us reach the unique needs of every child in Tennessee
- Use your unique voice and platform to create awareness and serve as an advocate for children in foster care
- Partner with us in writing stories, creating films, or be a part of a benefit concert, recruitment event, etc. to help us bring this issue to light
- Follow and share our stuff on social media and help spread the word
Together we can give every child a face and a voice.
Together we can show each child that they are precious, seen, and worthy of belonging.
Will You Join Us?
OUR SUPPORTERS & PARTNERS
VOLUNTEER & BECOME INVOLVED
Are you interested in volunteering or meeting needs we have as an organization?
Occasionally we have opportunities come up where we could use some help. This is often around the times of our monthly I Belong Project™ video shoots. Volunteers could be helpful with organizing new clothing donations, props for the shoot, set up, clean up, etc.
Please note that in order to attend a video shoot and work with the children there will be a background check completed, phone interview with one of our staff, and training day of event. We have a very limited number of spaces available for these opportunities.
Fill out a little information about yourself so we can know how to best utilize your help. We are working throughout the state of TN, and will contact you when needs arise in your area! Thank you so much for your willingness to connect and serve.
SUBMIT DETAILS HERE
Remember, there are countless ways you can help and make a difference in foster care in your community. Some things to explore:
- Contact and love on your local DCS office. Social workers work long hours, have difficult caseloads and often feel “unseen”. Bring some treats by their office and thank them for the work they do.
- We have an ongoing Amazon Wish List for items that we love to provide for children at video shoots. Items are shipped directly to our team and are more appreciated than we could ever express. We watch the children light up, let their walls down and have a fantastic time when they play with Legos, make jewelry, decorate framed photos of themselves. We also need practical stuff like clothing racks, sign boards. Help us cut down on overhead costs by shipping some of these needs directly to us through this wish list.
Amazon Wish List
- Donate brand new clothing for our video shoots. The children get to pick out a new outfit if they desire and we watch their confidence level instantly boost! We can arrange for pickup, or donations can be sent to Tennessee Kids Belong 2000 Mallory Ln. Suite 150-355 Franklin, TN 37067. Email us, using the button below, to arrange a larger pick up or drop off at our storage unit.
- Are you connected to a restaurant or business in your community? Consider asking this location to become “foster friendly”. Foster families change in size overnight, and it can make it tricky and expensive to have memberships to gyms, go out to eat, or shop. When companies offer discounts, acknowledging foster families, they feel seen and cared for, and this will give children in foster care the same opportunities as other children in the home. (gymnastics classes, dinners out, etc.)
- Share a video of a waiting child from our site on your social media. Using your platform to help give these children a voice is one of the best ways you can give them more exposure, and ultimately, a family to call their own.
- Think outside the box and tell us about it! We have had some of the most CREATIVE, INSPIRING ideas of how to serve children and families come from YOU. From a local woodworker donating tree swings to foster families, to benefit concerts, to real estate companies becoming involved because they see the value in HOME, we want to hear from you!