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Huge need for foster parents in Wilson County

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Youth Villages has an urgent need for foster parents to provide loving, temporary homes to children and teens in Wilson County.          Youth Villages offers free orientation meetings for people interested in learning more about becoming foster parents. A free orientation session is set for Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cook’s United Methodist Church at 7919 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet.

Free foster parent training starts on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 9 a.m. Lunch and soft drinks will be provided by Youth Villages.

More than 1,000 children enter foster care every year in the Mid-Cumberland region, according to the state of Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services. Youth Villages, which has partnered with the DCS since 1992 to help recruit, train and support foster families in Tennessee, faces an acute shortage of foster families in Wilson County and throughout Mid-Cumberland.

“Being a foster parent is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do,” said Lauren Johnson, foster parent recruiter, Youth Villages in Mid-Cumberland. “To be a foster parent, all you need is to love children, feel called to help them live successful lives and be committed to providing a structured yet nurturing home environment. Becoming a foster parent is easy, and Youth Villages supports you 100 percent through the process and once you have children placed in your home.”

To become a foster parent for Youth Villages, individuals must be at least 25 years of age, be single or legally married for at least one year, have income above the poverty level, pass a background check, have adequate space in their homes and complete Youth Villages’ foster parenting classes.             Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. Headquartered in Memphis, Youth Villages this year will help more than 15,000 children and families in 10 states and Washington, D.C., through a wide array of programs, including intensive in-home services, residential treatment, foster care and adoption, transitional living services, mentoring and crisis services.

Youth Villages’ focus on strengthening families consistently produces an 80 percent success rate of children living successfully at home or in a home-like setting two years after completing a Youth Villages program. Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and recently was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information about Youth Villages, visit www.youthvillages.org or call (901) 251-5000.

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