The Department of Children’s Services Foster Parent Mentorship and Advocacy program started in 1997. This was the same year that the Tennessee Foster Parent Bill of Rights was passed into law. The Foster Parent Bill of Rights influences the way in which foster parents are treated in Tennessee. There are 12 Advocates throughout the State of Tennessee, one in each of the grand regions covered by the Department of Children’s Services. Each Advocate is a member, in good standing, of the Tennessee Foster Adoptive Care Association. Their main task is to ADVOCATE on behalf of other foster parents. When requested, Advocates can attend meetings, court hearings and formal review panels. They can assist to interpret the Foster Parents Bill of Rights and help offer guidance and support to foster parents.
The Mentorship Program was developed in 2007 and was designed to support Foster Parents by giving them personal, one-on-one training and assistance during their first six months of services. Mentors provide emotional support and acquaint new foster parents with the services that are available to them in their region. Mentors also help new foster parents understand the foster care system and how to best work in partnership with DCS.
The Advocacy Program also has a Public Relations (PR) Specialist who is key in publicizing what the Advocacy and Mentorship Program can do for Foster Parents. The PR specialist can present the Advocacy and Mentorship Programs at conferences, to other private foster care agencies and other outreach programs. They develop and maintain a website as well as develop promotional and marketing materials. Basically, we want everyone that has an interest in the Tennessee Foster Care System to know about the positive things that the Advocacy and Mentorship program is doing for Foster Families and foster children across the state!
Advocates and Mentors care, they are committed to serving others but ultimately strive to enhance the lives of children in foster care throughout the State of Tennessee. They are available to both DCS foster parents as well as privately funded foster agencies. If you have any questions, we are here to help, just give us a call.