Our mission is changing young people’s lives. Since we began in 1893 as an orphanage for displaced youth, Monroe Harding evolved and continually adapted to meet the needs of children and young adults who are in or transitioning out of state custody. We ensure that foster care youth and other vulnerable young people build a solid foundation of strengths, positioning them for success in adulthood. We provide children, young adults, and families with resources in the areas of Homes, Healing, and Opportunities through Engagement. We also advocate for service recipients and empower young people to advocate for themselves. Monroe Harding is the only agency in Middle Tennessee providing a comprehensive continuum of services for current and former foster youth from birth to 26, as well as serving other vulnerable young adults. We fulfill our mission through four programs: Foster Care, Supportive Housing, Clinical Emotional and Mental Health Support, and a Youth Connections Resource Center. 



Since 1893, Monroe Harding has continually adapted to meet the needs of children who are in, or transitioning out of state custody, caring for more than 16,000 children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. Today, we are a healing community for youth and families as they move beyond trauma to experience hope. We are meeting this mission through four key programs serving young people who are currently in or are transitioning from the foster care system: Foster CareSupportive HousingEducation & Career Readiness, and Therapy & Healing.

Our Services

To learn more, click the services name below.

In Their Own Words


With an education, I can achieve what I desire the most.  I will achieve and try my hardest, so I can be who I want to be.


I love being a foster parent for the rewarding feeling and gratitude of knowing I made a difference in a child’s life.


I have people around to tell me when I’m doing good when I am, and motivate me when I’m not.


I have never really had stability in my life.  While living with my Monroe Harding foster family, I’ve felt more love, support and stability in the past eight months than I have the past sixteen years.

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Our Stories


Two little boys, age 5 and 6, have moved over 10 times in their young lives… Feeling unwanted and unsure of where they would go next, they moved to their new home. After noticing the “wall of love” in the house, one of their first questions was, “When will we get our names on the wall?”


Three-year-old Abigail recently moved into the home of one our foster families. Our wonderful foster parents, Jason and Liz, knew that Abigail was confused, shy and unsure, but were heartened to see how much she enjoyed being with their little girls, all around Abigail’s age.

The Gordons

We celebrate the Gordon family, who became richer in love three times over today. Natalie, Deacon and David (in the front row of the picture by their sister Sadie) were adopted today. The joy in their hearts was evident and it was wonderful to watch the brothers and sisters play together, laugh together and support each other.

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Mandy Lee Christenson is with Doug Lee.
Mandy Lee Christenson
I think as we age we truly learn to appreciate our parents and maybe that maturity helps us understand them a little bit more. My family hasn't ever been overly affectionate and we don't say I love you a lot but we know. We learn so much from example, Drew's family was overly affectionate and I love you was very commonplace, it was uncomfortable to me for a long time, but I adapted and now our immediate family, I believe is a good mix.But my Daddy, the one this post is about... he can talk to a wall and he knows a lot and he's not afraid to tell you how do to something (and darn it a lot of times he's right about it). But he didn't have a great example of family growing up and until I had my own family I didn't really understand his early years. Each of his brothers has a different story about their early years but the theme is pretty similar, cold parents, some abuse and a lot of neglect or maybe it was just selfishness and immaturity.When my father was my son's age, he was responsible for helping put food on the table. He worked a lot of odd jobs and I'm sure did things that a young teenager shouldn't have been expected to do. But it's probably what planted the seed in him to do better and be better for his family. You see he works so hard or he did when he had to. He taught us a very strong work ethic and a good foundation on the value of a dollar, of course we had to make our own mistakes too but guess who was always there to help us stand back up and try again?His final years in high school he moved in with a neighbor, thank God for Mr. and Mrs. Smith who opened their homes to him and provided a roof, food and some of the love he had been missing. He also spent time as a resident of Monroe Harding Children's Home. Can you imagine? Thankfully, I can not. When my Dad was 18 the Children's Home couldn't let him stay - because every 18 year old should be turned out with no family, no money and no place to stay. (Our system needs work.) But you know what? The folks at the Children's Home saw something in my father and those early years of college when he didn't have a place to go for Christmas break or Thanksgiving, they found him a spot to lay his head.That's another thing, this foster kid without a support system like you and I have, said he was going to college and he became a first generation college student. Do you know how important that was to my family! First, he met my Mom at college, but the fact that he attended school made it so much easier for my sister and I to pursue our educations - not necessarily from a financial standpoint but just the confidence and knowledge necessary to navigate secondary education. Can you imagine what my Granddaddy thought when my Mom brought him home. If you knew him I bet you can guess! He ended up, maybe a little begrudgingly, loving him too. They even started a business together that continues to provide for his family and might even be a legacy.So on Father's Day and every day, I am so grateful for my Daddy and I love him so much. He supports me, he offers advice, sometimes I even take it and I try really hard not to roll my eyes. I hope that I make him proud, as proud as he makes me to be his daughter. I love you! ... See MoreSee Less
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