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Opioid crisis has an impact on foster care

Johnson City Press • Jan 5, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Like most states, Tennessee is in urgent need of volunteers willing to become a foster parent or serve as a mentor to a child in foster care. This need has grown dramatically in recent years as a result of the opioid crisis, which has forced children from their homes and addicted parents into foster care. 

We can’t say enough good things about the people who serve as caregivers to children in foster care. It’s with the help of foster parents that many children are reunited with their relatives or adopted by loving families.

Some foster children, however, are not so lucky. Far too many children will remain in foster care until adulthood. State officials say more than 800 leave Tennessee’s foster care system annually once they reach age 18.

These young Tennesseans reach adulthood without the education and social skills they need to enter college or compete in the labor force. That is why, in addition to needing more foster parents, Tennessee needs mentors to help these children make that difficult transition.

Call 1-877-DCS-KIDS or visit tennessee.gov/youth/fostercare.htm for more information about becoming a foster parent or a mentor to a foster child.

Locally, Youth Villages not only recruits foster parents, but provides them with the tools to properly care for children until they are either returned to their birth families or adopted. Those interested in fostering a child must pass a background check, be at least 25 years old and have a sufficient income, a registered vehicle with insurance and an available room in their home for the foster child.

Youth Villages is located at 3915 Bristol Highway, No. 101, in Johnson City. For more information about upcoming training sessions or how to get involved in the fostering program, call 283-652.

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