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National Foster Care Month

May 13, 2024 | News

As May unfolds, Frontier Health proudly joins the nationwide observance of National Foster Care Month. This annual occasion poignantly reminds us of the invaluable contributions of foster parents, family members, volunteers, and dedicated child welfare professionals. Throughout this month-long celebration, communities unite to honor those who selflessly provide care, guidance, and support to children and youth navigating the foster care system.

In the face of crisis, neglect, or abuse, countless children and youth find themselves in need of stable, nurturing environments. The foster care system stands as a beacon of hope, offering solace and security to those who require it most. As we pay homage to National Foster Care Month, Frontier Health reaffirms its commitment to advocating for the welfare and well-being of every child, ensuring they have access to the love, resources, and opportunities they deserve.

With close to half a million children and youth in the foster care system, there is an urgent need for foster and adoptive parents.  The total number of children in foster care has decreased in recent years thanks to advocates and supporters. Frontier Health offers two therapeutic foster care and adoption programs. TRACES serve children and teens up to age 18 in state custody throughout Northeast Tennessee referred by the Department of Children’s Services and VALUES which serves children from birth through the age of 17 throughout Southwest Virginia referred from the Department of Social Services.

Foster Parents help these special children meet specific individual goals while living in their home. Working with a child to develop day-to-day coping skills, problem-solving skills, developing healthy relationships, building self-esteem, and developing independent living skills are just a few ways a foster parent can impact a child’s life. Foster parents receive training before a child is placed and continued training and support during the placement with regular visits in the home by their caseworker.

Becoming a foster parent means making the commitment to a child that you will be there for them until they can return to a parent, a relative, become independent, or be adopted.

Who Can Foster/Adopt?

  • Persons age 21 and older
  • Persons who rent or own in stable housing
  • Persons who are financially stable
  • Married couples
  • Single parents
  • Families with or without children

There are many ways to help, even if you cannot foster or adopt yourself. The following are a few examples of how you can help your community, these children, and families in their times of need:

  • Contact your local newspaper editors and encourage them to contribute articles or a column specifically dedicated to foster care awareness.
  • Recruit volunteers; many children, through no fault of their own, need special attention and are often in need of mentors.
  • Help raise public awareness
  • Make a financial donation to a child in need of multiple resources
  • Become a mentor

For those interested in adopting or becoming a foster parent, please contact Traces Foster Care (NETN residents) at 423-224-1067 and Values Therapeutic Foster (SWVA residents) 276-870-1487 or visit frontierhealth.org to learn more.

“Everyone has a “why” that inspires the work that they do.  At TRACES, our “why” is simply that every child deserves to be loved, nurtured, and celebrated.  Youth in foster care often have no control over being removed from their homes. They have experienced significant trauma, which leads to them learning how to survive day by day in sometimes unhealthy ways.  TRACES foster parents work tirelessly to provide safe and nurturing homes for children in need, guiding and teaching in a therapeutic manner and being the voices for our children until they can find their own voices.  We are always open to adding more foster parents to our TRACES family and would love the opportunity to chat with anyone interested.” – Ashley Evans, Sr Director of TN Children & Youth Residential & Continuum Services

“To provide a safe and loving home environment is one of the greatest gifts we as parents can give a child.  Our communities present with a great need to for just that – welcoming and understanding homes available to love and support local children in need. VALUES Therapuetic Foster Care Agency prides itself on supporting and engaging families to aid in providing the utmost level of therapeutic care necessary to encourage and assist foster youth in our community. We are always available to answer any questions on how you can open your home to a child in need. Give us a call!”– Jessica Keith, VALUES TFC Coordinator

In The News

Johnson City Press: https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/living/family/foster-care-month-highlights-the-need-for-foster-parents/article_1ed9f10e-113d-11ef-b6c1-aba9af48f450.html

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