Youth Villages, helping children and families live successfully

Children are the future of a strong community, and there is an organization, Youth Villages, that is known as the force for families with a mission to help children and families live successfully. They do that by helping children in need, through a variety of services including counseling and foster care support.

The nationwide organization believes kids’ needs always come first and that children are raised best by their families. They help to provide a safe place for children, and they strive to achieve positive, lasting results.

Jennifer Harris, regional manager for Community Based Programs in Middle Tennessee, said the organization helps children and individuals up to the age of 22, with the majority of those in their teenage years between the ages of 12 and 18.

“We work with kids who have emotional and behavioral disorders, lots of different behavioral issues and often different mental health diagnoses. We provide counseling services, case management services, and emergency assistance services, to those kids,” said Harris.

Foster care support

Harris said Youth Villages also offers foster care services and they have a program for young people that are aging out of the foster care system to help get them set up to be independent adults.

There are currently 132 clients being served out of the Clarksville office. Of those, 34 are in foster care.

There are over 8,000 children in Tennessee in need of foster homes.

The foster care program with Youth Villages is different from many other foster care programs, according to Stephanie Roberts, regional supervisor for the Clarksville office. She said their program is therapeutic.

“We have counselors that go into the foster homes to work with the kids and address some of their behavioral issues. We are also able to provide extended support to those foster parents who oftentimes are able to adopt,” Roberts said.

Through their foster care programs, Youth Villages is able to handle adoptions through the state of Tennessee. There are foster care teams that work with the families and children that are placed together to prepare for the switch to a permanent living situation.

Harris said there are specialists that work solely on the adoption part with the court documentation, adoption assistance such as helping the family with the process and getting everything finalized for the adoption. Youth Villages also covers all of the expenses involved with adoption.

Clarksville’s Best winner

Youth Villages was awarded Silver Best Nonprofit Organization in Clarksville’s Best 2020 contest, winning $12,000 in advertising support.

Roberts said it was an honor to be nominated as one of the top nonprofits in Clarksville area. “I’m very proud of the work we do for Youth Villages and for our Clarksville office; to be nominated is just phenomenal,” she said.

For more on Youth Villages in Clarksville or becoming a foster parent, visit youthvillages.org, email Shelby Ortner,  or call 931-552-5240.

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