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Tennessee Foster Care
and Adoption Guidelines
Thank you so much for considering adoption or fostering as an option for your family!
Things You Should Know
- Foster and Adoption Licensing Requirements
- Costs to Foster and Adopt
- Parent Support Groups
- Agency Contact and Orientation Information
- Information on Tennesee's Waiting Children
Tennessee's foster parents are dually approved to adopt.
To be approved as a foster-adoptive parent in Tennesee you:
- Can be married, single or divorced
- May or may not have other children
- Can own or rent where you live
- May be employed or not employed, but must be able to meet your own financial needs (potential foster-adoptive parents should be able to financially support themselves and their family without the need for a board payment)
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must be a resident of the State of Tennessee
Should you decide to become a foster-adoptive parent through the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, you will need to complete a parent preparation process called PATH (Parents as Tender Healers). PATH is a 23-hour education and self-assessment process. It explores communication styles. It helps families to understand the feelings of grief and the loss that children can experience. It helps identify family strengths and in what situations you can most successfully parent.
It is necessary to have a homestudy from a licensed child placing agency if you are going to foster or adopt. The exact process will be outlined by the agency you choose. In general, the homestudy process is a combination of education for you about the realities of foster and adoption and information about yourself and your family which you will share. The final written home study will include a description of your family, verifications, medical, and financial statements and references. You will also be asked to identify and describe the type of child you feel that you can successfully parent.
State of Tennessee’s toll free number for more information:
View the PATH training schedule for parents.
It is free to foster.
The legal fees at the very end of the process are the only fees that you will pay if you work with your local department office to complete the adoption process and if the child is waiting in the State.
If you work with your local department office to complete the adoption process and the child is waiting in foster care in another State, it may be possible for the child’s State to purchase the services of your department office. Or, there may be fees. If you work with a nonprofit or private agency instead of the department, the nonprofit or private agency may charge additional fees.
However, when families adopt children who are in foster care and eligible for subsidy, the families may be eligible for reimbursement of limited nonrecurring adoption-related costs, such as attorney’s fees and court fees, through the child’s State or Federal options. Adopting does not have to be expensive. In fact, many families choose low-cost options every year. Please call us if you have questions.
- The Resource Parent Support Group in Chattanooga meets every fourth Tuesday of the month. The address is 503 N. Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37405. Call (423) 267-4992.
- Visit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption website to learn more.
Please talk to individual agencies and offices to learn when their next orientation is.
You can work with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Find a DCS office near you.
Or, you can work with a private agency. To find a private agency, please see the list below. View agency fees.
- Chattanooga Resource Center
Address: 7155 Lee Hwy., Suite 300, Chattanooga, TN 37421
- Nashville Resource Center
Address: 301 S Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37211
- Adoption Place, Inc.
Phone: (615) 365-7020
Contact: Judy Rister, director of Social Services
Address: 4555 Trousdale Drive, Nashville, TN 37204
- Agape Child & Family Services
Contact: David Jordan, executive director
Address: 111 Racine St., Memphis, TN 38111
Phone: 901-323-3600, Ext. 123
- America World Adoption Association
Address: 256 Seaboard Lane, G101, Franklin, TN 37067
- Appalachian Family Outreach, Inc.
Street Address: 2600 State Line Road
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 285, Elizabethton, TN 37644-0285
Fax: (423) 542-4369
- Associated Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Memphis
St. Peter Maternity and Adoption Services
Address: 1325 Jefferson St., Memphis, TN 38127-7799
- Bethany Christian Services of East Tennessee
Address: 318 Erin Drive, Suite 10, Knoxville, TN 37919
- Bethany Christian Services of Greater Chattanooga
Address: 400 S. Germantown Road, Chattanooga, TN 37411-5025
- Bethany Christian Services of Middle Tennessee
Address: 220 Athens Way, Suite 405, Nashville, TN 37228
- Bethany Christian Services of West Tennessee, Inc.
Contact: Diane Brower, director
Address: 1044 Brookfield Road, Suite 102, Memphis, TN 38119-3608
Camelot Care Centers, Inc.
Address: 391 Broad St., Cleveland, TN 37323
Catholic Charities of East Tennessee
Address: 119 Dameron Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917
Catholic Charities of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
Address: 30 White Bridge Road, Nashville, TN 37205
Center for Family Development
Address: 100 East Side Square, Shelbyville, TN 37160
Toll-Free Phone: 888-462-2999
Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter
Address: 315 Gillespie Road, Chattanooga, TN 37411
Free Will Baptist Family Ministries, Inc.
Address: 90 Stanley Lane, Greeneville, TN 37641
Address: 2001 Stonebrook Place, Kingsport, TN 37660
Greater Chattanooga Christian Services
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 16396, Chattanooga, TN 37416
Street Address: 6816 Ty-Hi Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Harmony Adoptions of Tennessee, Inc.
131 Cherokee Heights Drive, Maryville, TN 37801
Heaven Sent Children
Address: 307 N. Walnut St., Murfreesboro, TN 37130
International Assistance and Adoption Project
Address: 1210-G Taft Highway, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Jewish Family Services
6560 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38138
Contact: Penny Glatstein, director of adoption
Jewish Family Services of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Inc.
Address: 801 Percy Warner Boulevard, Suite 103, Nashville, TN 37205
Life Choices, Inc.
Address: 5575 Raleigh LaGrange, Memphis, TN 38134
Contact: Sue Parker, executive director
Mercy Ministries of America
Street Address: 15328 Old Hickory Blvd.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 111060, Nashville, TN 37222-1060
Address: 522 Russell St., Nashville, TN 37206-4114
Address: 1120 Glendale Lane, Nashville, TN 37204
Address: 301 South Perimeter Park Dr., Ste. 210, Nashville, TN 37211
The Partnership for Families Children and Adults Chattanooga, Inc.
Address: 1800 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37403
Porter-Leath Children’s Center
Address: 868 N. Manassas St., Memphis, TN 38107-2516
Contact: Pamela Coleman Sessions, executive vice president
Small World Adoption Programs
Address: 13345 Lebanon Road, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee 37122
Smoky Mountain Children’s Home
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4391
Street Address: 449 McCarn Circle, Sevierville, TN 37864
Tennessee Children’s Home - East
Street Address: 3834 Copper Ridge Road
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7347, Knoxville, TN 37931
Children enter foster care because their birth families cannot care for them safely.
There are 9,017 children in foster care in Tennessee; 1,717 of these children are waiting for adoptive families.