What Is Foster Care & Other FAQs?

What is foster care?

The goal of foster care is to provide children with a safe, nurturing environment while their birth parents improve their ability to care for their children, with the ultimate goal being reunification of the family.

Children (of all ages) enter foster care when the courts determine they need to be temporarily or permanently removed from their birth family due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Right now in Tennessee there are 6,000 children in foster care.

How long do children stay in foster care?

The length of a child’s stay in foster care varies greatly, case by case.  Some children live with foster families for a few days, others a few years.  The average length of stay is 12-18 months.

What is the role of a foster family?

A foster family provides a safe, supportive, loving home to child(ren) aged 0-18 who have been placed in state custody due to neglect or abuse.  A foster family serves as a safe harbor for children while their family receives support services, such as counseling, parenting classes and therapy. 

Who can be a foster parent?

A foster parent needs to be at least 25 years of age. They can be single or married. They should rent or own their home, with enough room for an additional child.   A foster parent must have a steady income, a vehicle in working condition, and be able to pass a background check.

A foster parent must be tolerant of differences of racial, ethnic, religious and educational backgrounds.

What are the responsibilities of a Foster Parent?

A foster parent provides a safe, comfortable place to live and meets the child’s basic needs, while giving them consistent emotional and behavioral support and guidance. They ensure school attendance and progress. They help the child through the grieving and adjustment process that comes with being removed from their home.

As part of the application process, foster parents are required to complete the Parents As Tender Healers (PATH) training.

Who are children that Monroe Harding serves?

We serve children ranging from ages 0-18. Our greatest need is for families willing to open their homes to sibling groups and teenagers. We also serve children who may be medically fragile or have special needs.

Can I adopt my foster child?

The majority of children who come into foster care are reunited with their birth parents. If children are unable to return to their birth family or relatives, they will become available for adoption and the foster parent will be given the first option of adopting the child.

Why should I foster through Monroe Harding?

As a trauma informed healing community, we provide wraparound support with individualized case management focusing on the needs of the foster youth in your home. We provide 24/7 support for our foster families with trained staff who will be able to assist with everyday life as well as emergencies and crises.  

Monroe Harding has ongoing training support to help families feel confident in parenting the youth that we serve. We respect foster parents and the roles that they play, and we believe in working as a team.

What does it mean to be a Trauma Informed Healing Community?

By providing a safe environment where a youth’s emotional and physical needs are met, we are able to help children identify, understand and deal with their emotions more effectively.

We understand that a youth’s brain has been affected by their past trauma(s) and can be changed in a positive way by providing healthy experiences, like those that would occur in a loving, functional foster family.

What areas and communities does Monroe Harding serve?

Middle Tennessee including:

  • Davidson County
  • Williamson County
  • Cheatham County
  • Montgomery County
  • Sumner County
  • Rutherford County
  • Wilson County
  • Robertson County
  • Coffee County
  • Dickson County
  • Maury County
  • Houston County

Want to learn more about being a foster parent? Please contact us and find out more about how you can change a child’s life.

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