Gov. Bill Lee Calls on Faith Community to Partner in Adoption

Unveils TN Fosters Hope to support adoption out of foster care
Monday, March 22, 2021 | 04:30pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee called on the faith community to support Tennessee foster kids in finding permanent homes through a new public-private initiative, TN Fosters Hope.

Led by the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, TN Fosters Hope creates a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and two leading private partners, Tennessee Kids Belong and Show Hope.

“When we join forces with the faith community and trusted partners like Tennessee Kids Belong and Show Hope, we can help Tennessee foster kids find permanent, loving homes,” said Gov. Lee. “I am calling on the faith community to join us as we work to build one of the most adoption-friendly states in the country.”

TN Fosters Hope includes the following areas of focus:

  • Establishing a network of churches statewide to support the foster and adoptive needs of their communities
  • Recruiting and certifying families who can care for foster children with increased needs 
  • Building pathways for full DCS custody children to find permanent adoption

To further support foster children, Gov Lee. has also proposed a TennCare coverage extension for adopted youth that will allow them to retain their TennCare eligibility until age 18 regardless of federal or state adoption assistance eligibility. This includes retaining existing physical, mental and behavioral health services.

"On behalf of the nearly 8,800 children in our care, I thank Gov. Lee and all of our Tennessee Fosters Hope partners for their commitment to improving the lives of children and families in our state. The Department of Children’s Services cannot do this work alone. We must have foster parents, providers, houses of worship, community organizations, lawmakers, and citizens step up to provide homes, support and wrap around services that will lead to permanency. Working together through TN Fosters Hope, we will be able to fulfill Gov. Lee’s vision of making Tennessee a national leader in foster care and adoption services,” said Jennifer Nichols, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

“Through our personal story of adoption and our continued work with Show Hope, Mary Beth and I remain committed to vulnerable children and to the families who are welcoming them into their hearts and homes. The collaborative efforts of TN Fosters Hope will help elevate the quality of care across our great state for children and families impacted by foster care and adoption, and we encourage everyone, particularly churches and faith communities, to get involved by becoming educated and finding ways to help meet these unique needs," said Steven Curtis Chapman, Co-Founder & Vice Chair of Show Hope.

“TN Fosters Hope is bringing such synergy and collaboration. We truly believe the experiences and outcomes of children in foster care will be positively impacted, but it’s going to take ALL of us. Tennessee Kids Belong is thrilled to help houses of worship, businesses, and individuals find their unique roles," said Kristin Allender, Executive Director of Tennessee Kids Belong.

“Tennessee is already a leader in serving vulnerable children. I believe TN Fosters Hope is an example of what amazing work can happen when dozens of community organizations, state agencies, and hundreds of Houses of Worship collaborate to provide homes where children and families experiencing foster care and adoption can flourish,” said Dave Worland, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

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