With TL, Zoey takes control of her life, plus one ... 3
DeeDee finds forever home; Rosa was always there ... 5
Youth Villages receives $42 million grant ... 3
Family Victories from Youth Villages East Tennessee
FIRST TIMEâ€™S A CHARM Foster parents adopt brothers Ethan and Levi ... 4
A message from
Johnson City Morristown Knoxville Chattanooga
YOUTH VILLAGES BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Cookeville Nashville Mike Bruns, Dickson
Stacking the deck in favor of children
Dyersburg Jackson Many times in our business I’m reminded of how tenuous stability can be. It Memphis mirrors many aspects of our lives, where success or failure is dependent upon
events and things that may, or may not, go our way. When you’re an adult, you stack the odds in your favor to prepare for unfortunate consequences. For example, if you drive an older car, you may keep a jacket, booster cables and other comfort items in the trunk in case it breaks down. You keep a list of wrecker services programmed in your phone. You’ve called friends and others to let them know you may need to rely on them in the near future. It’s common sense to be prepared. But it also takes practice. Young people highlighted in this newsletter show how preparation led to their success, but it could have turned out differently. Amber and Zoey are exceptional young people placed in situations that required them to be prepared, but they weren’t. They didn’t know how, and they hadn’t practiced. Becoming part of our transitional living program gave them the practice they needed, and they’re both thriving.
Chairman Ronnie Randall, Vice Chairman Columbia Jimmy Lackie, Secretary Paul Bower, Treasurer Jim Barton Jr. Eric Bolton Kenneth Campbell Marietta Davis Nicholas R. Ehlen Joanna Jacobson Rev. Robert Earl Jones Bryan Jordan Karole Lloyd Mark Medford Jim Parrish Johnny Pitts Ray Pohlman Jennifer Queen Pat Ritz Matthew Tarkenton Scotland Thede David Tyler Betsy Walkup George White Patrick Lawler, CEO
DeeDee, Ethan and Levi are with exceptional foster parents who felt called to make their foster situation permanent through adoption. DeeDee and Ethan had come from foster homes where they didn’t feel safe – they were defiant and had their guard up all the time. Now, DeeDee calls Rosa “Mom.” In Ethan’s case, his younger brother also joined the family. At Youth Villages, we work to help children and families prepare for whatever happens. When someone needs help, they have people to call. Your support through donations and volunteering adds yet another layer of help and stability for children and families in our programs. They have the means to prepare for life. And with each layer, success becomes closer and closer to a sure thing. Thank you for all you do to support Youth Villages.
Amanda Tillman Director of East Tennessee 865-560-2550 email@example.com 2
CONTACT US Chattanooga 5741 Cornelison Road 6400 Building Chattanooga, TN 37411 phone: 423-954-8890 fax: 423-954-8880 Johnson City 3915 Bristol Hwy #101 Johnson City, TN 37601 phone: 423-283-6500 fax: 423-283-6550 Knoxville 9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite E475 Knoxville, TN 37923 phone: 865-560-2550 fax: 865-560-2580 Morristown 225 West First North Street, Suite 302 Millennium Square Building Morristown, TN 37814 phone: 423-522-2200 fax: 423-522-2180
*82.7% of youth were in state custody
As a national leader in the field of behavioral health, Youth Villages has measured at admission to the program. outcomes of children and families participating in its programs since 1994.
EAST TENNESSEE PROGRAM SUCCESS 100
ZOEY TAKES CONTROL OF HER LIFE; COMMITTED TO SUCCESS Zoey was in the midst of monumental
change, and it could have gone a bad
At One One-Year Year Post Post-Discharge Discharge
No involvement with the law
At home with family
In foster care almost all her life, she faced serious adult decisions at 18 years old. Looking back at that time, it’s almost
In school or graduated
as if it were a fond memory, she said. She left her foster home and lived at the YWCA and took classes at a local college. She lived nearby, and could walk where she needed to go. She had a job. But Zoey’s soft-spoken and shy by nature, and had trouble securing the other things adults need — finding a doctor, pursuing a career, finding housing. Her case manager with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
The graph above represents the status of East Tennessee youth at one year after discharge through December 2011. Figures include only youth who received at least 60 days of service and reflect a response rate of 53 percent.
told her about Youth Villages’ transitional living program. “I was never taught how to do those things,” she said. “I didn’t know how to respond to questions; everything was continued on page 6
NEWS AND NOTES AROUND YOUTH VILLAGES YOUTH VILLAGES RECEIVES $42 MILLION CHALLENGE GRANT The Day Foundation announced it will give Youth Villages a $42 million legacy challenge grant primar-
tion before his death in 2009. Because the TL program is funded mostly through private donations, the grant will help Youth Villages maintain and expand the program. While Youth Villages is helping 1,452
LAWLER TAKES PART IN WHITE HOUSE ROUNDTABLE Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler recently joined other child advocates for a roundtable discussion with Presi-
ily to help expand the organization’s
young adults this year through the TL
dent Obama’s Domestic Policy Coun-
transitional living program that helps
program in Alabama, Florida, Geor-
cil staff at the White House.
older foster children become success-
gia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North
Carolina and Tennessee, there are
and Family Services Improvement and
thousands more in need.
Innovation Act. It expands the Title
It is the largest single grant ever awarded to Youth Villages and one of
Each year, as many as 30,000 chil-
The meeting focused on the Child
IV-E waiver program to allow more
the largest ever to a social services
dren will turn 18 and “age out” of state
states to use federal funds to develop
custody, being left on their own to make
or provide prevention or reunifica-
their way in life as an adult.
tion services that help children avoid
Philanthropist Clarence Day, who began the foundation, was a longtime
foster care entirely, reunite with fam-
Youth Villages supporter, donating
ily members more quickly or find new
more than $14 million to the organiza-
families through adoption. 3
FIRST-TIME FOSTER PARENTS GIVE BROTHERS A FAMILY Levi does quite a bit of the talking.
foster kids there. I think he needed a home where there
Energetic and animated, Levi has made his new
were fewer children, and by the summer, he’d changed.”
house a home. He’s 2, almost 3, and loves
He still has moments as any teenager would, but Mi-
his older brother, Ethan, 14.
chael, a man of few words,
The two boys were the
described Ethan succinctly,
first foster children for
and somewhat jokingly:
Christy and Michael. Ethan came first in March 2010
“He’s a good kid most of the time.”
and Levi in February of 2011.
Ethan plans to participate
The couple adopted both in
in wrestling, and has always
been active in school. And
Ethan had some difficulty
whether it is clothing, shoes,
in previous foster homes
or running the television,
and disrupted. But some-
Levi insists upon doing it
thing changed when he
himself. Both have extend-
went to Christy and Mi-
ed family through Christy
and Michael, who accept
They’re more relaxed, and it put Ethan in a good
the children also as part of the family.
frame of mind. After a few months at the home, Ethan “He was very shy in the
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT? CALL 877-983-6786 adopt.”
in contact with an older
“They were nice to me,” Ethan said. “At first I had
Ethan first brought up adoption.
came out of his shell.
Levi, 2, and Ethan, 14, have settled in their permanent home with parents Michael and Christy.
my guard up, but I like it here.”
brother who has aged out of foster care. “We’d gone through the foster parenting classes and
“We just fell in love with
The couple talked to-
Ethan,” Christy said. “Our
gether about Ethan and
beginning,” Christy said.
initial goal was to be foster
Levi, and decided to pursue
“His previous home had five
parents and then potentially
adoption. The kids also stay
had been certified about a month,” Christy said. “We continued on next page
OVERCOMING THE LITTLE THINGS TL gives support to focus on important matters of becoming an adult The little things can get the best of you. That’s what happened with Amber, who admittedly stressed
20-year-old said. “I was away from home and everyone. I was anxious because I didn’t know what to do.” Amber was in a post-custody
over little things so much, she was
arrangement with foster parents
losing sight of larger duties.
who lived hours away. Her younger
It happens to teenagers as they
sister was at the home. She practi-
approach adulthood, and for many,
cally raised her younger sister on
they have parents or mentors to
her own and was very protective of
guide them through those times,
her. Then the foster parents began
show them how to manage their
the adoption process for her sister.
time and money, keep their grades
Detached from everything that
up and handle adult responsibilities.
was familiar, Amber’s grades be-
Amber didn’t have that. “I didn’t know what to do,” the 4
continued on page 6
TL Specialist Teresaann Fisher, left, with Amber
WHEN SHE NEEDED SOMEONE, ROSA WAS ALWAYS THERE At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “Who’s going to be there for me?” For DeeDee, the answer was obvious. Last November, Rosa, whom she now calls “Mom,” adopted her.
for, but she’s fiercely loyal to her mom now. While she challenges Rosa as any teenager would, she doesn’t understand when her peers speak ill of their parents. “Sometimes at school I overhear other
“I had already adopted one child, and I
kids talk about how they hate their parents
wasn’t looking to adopt again,” Rosa said.
because their parents didn’t let them go to a
“But every time she’d leave to go to another
party or to a friend’s house,” DeeDee said.
foster family, she’d come back.” DeeDee didn’t think she’d like living there. Initially, it was difficult. She first stayed with Rosa during a weekend, and Rosa could tell there was something different about DeeDee. Rosa, whose biological children were grown, was patient. She was relaxed. Most important, she knew where DeeDee was coming from. “I had a temper, and I was very defensive,”
“I think to myself, ‘You’re so lucky. You don’t know what that means.’ I wanted someone to tell me I couldn’t go somewhere. I wanted someone to be there for me.”
DeeDee said. “I had my guard up all the time. Few people could have gone through those times with me, but Rosa was different.”
DeeDee doesn’t regret anything. She wished for adoptive parents who could take
DeeDee had two weekend stays with Rosa
her places and do things with her. Rosa can’t
before moving there full time. The high school
be that to the level DeeDee wanted, but they
sophomore plans to become a nurse and also
both believe faith brought them together.
pursue a country music career. She went into
They communicate; they finish each other’s
foster care at age 13 after allegations of abuse
sentences. They laugh and they smile. They
have an energy between each other formed
She said being in foster care was difficult except for the time with Rosa. She’s more
out of love, safety and security. “I don’t regret my situation because now I
relaxed now and has again become the talk-
have a better life,” DeeDee said. “At the end
ative, outgoing girl she was before going into
of the day, I asked myself, ‘Who’s going to be
state custody. She just turned 16, and is work-
there to help and support me?’”
ing to help Rosa buy her a car. DeeDee doesn’t shy from talking about the adoption. Rosa wasn’t what she was looking
Then Rosa finished for her. “Things happen for a reason, and it makes you stronger.”
ETHAN, LEVI FIND FOREVER HOME from page 4
Services to find permanent homes for the children in our care who have adoption as a goal. Youth Villages offers an array of training, support and assistance to potential adoptive parents. Many adoptive
were fortunate that all of it worked out.” Christy said they’d initially narrowed the choice down to two agencies and decided on Youth Villages after speak-
parents also are eligible for continuing adoption subsidies from the state. “I think back to everything before, and it’s almost like it’s
ing with staff and learning about the support Youth Vil-
always been this way,” Christy said. “If you have the room
lages provides. In Tennessee, the Youth Villages adoption
and you like kids, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to
program partners with the state Department of Children’s
share a good home with someone who needs one.” 5
NAVIGATING THE ADULT WORLD
THE SUPPORT TO SUCCEED
from page 3
from page 4
gan to suffer. Her college financial aid was threatened. Going into
Then she found out she was pregnant.
the summer months, she thought she’d lose her housing. Luckily,
“One of the first things we did was get her to a
her case manager from the Tennessee Department of Children’s
doctor for a checkup,” said Lindsey Jones, Youth Villages TL specialist. “That’s when we found out she was pregnant.” She had to leave the YWCA. She then stayed with a friend. Then she lost her job. “There were some challenges for us at the begin-
Services contacted Youth Villages about Amber. Amber is participating in Youth Villages’ transitional living clinical trial to measure the TL program’s effectiveness. Conducted by MDRC through grants from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the study will evaluate the difference between the TL program and
ning when she found out she was pregnant and lost
usual services available in the community. Participants are inter-
her job,” Lindsey said. “But she had support from
viewed periodically to track their progress.
Michael, her fiancé, and she was motivated to make sure things worked out.”
The study involves about 1,300 young people randomly assigned to TL or other community resources during the next two years. TL
Michael was a huge help.
services are available for young people ages 18-22 who are aging
“He was always there for me,” Zoey said. “He went
out of state custody and have little or no support. TL specialists
with me to all of my doctor’s appointments and
help young people secure housing; pursue educational and em-
was waiting for me at the hospital when I went into
ployment goals; access health and mental health services; learn
such independent living skills as budgeting, cooking, cleaning
And a little less than a year ago, their son was born. “I wanted a safe place for my son,” Zoey said. “I want to be a mother and watch him grow.” The TL program provides young adults leaving foster care with the intensive support and guidance they need to make a successful transition to adult-
and shopping; and create and maintain healthy relationships with family and others. Teresaann Fisher, TL clinical supervisor, said Amber was motivated to succeed. “She didn’t know where to start,” Fisher said. “We worked on building her resume and re-applying for health care.” In addition, they found out about a work-study program and
hood. The program helps young people learn to
enrolled in classes that let her remain on campus during the sum-
deal with the minor and major problems that come
mer. She got a job. She volunteered at a local recreation center.
with adulthood. TL specialists help participants find housing and health services, learn how to access transportation and meet their basic needs. Special-
“I volunteered more than 100 hours at the center,” Amber said. “I fell in love with the kids there and kept going back.” Her grades turned around. Now a junior, Amber recently was
ists teach life skills like budgeting, menu planning
selected to enter the social work program at the school. Through
and grocery shopping.
it all, she spoke regularly with Teresaann.
Zoey discharged from the TL program in October.
“We found a structure so I wouldn’t feel lost,” Amber said. “She
Her son’s healthy. She’s working part-time now and
helped me walk through things. I began to accomplish smaller
plans to return to school as soon as possible. She
goals, and it gave me confidence to move on to the larger ones.”
hasn’t bought a car, but knows the bus system very
Amber has been a speaker at DCS functions to advocate for
well. Michael and she have an apartment, and she
more support for teens in foster care. She plans to pursue a ca-
continues regular meetings with a private practice
reer in the social work and human development field.
therapist and social service nurse through nonprof-
“I’d like to advocate for youth in the system,” Amber said. “So
it organizations that offer support while their son is
often, kids are labeled when they enter state custody. They’re looked
at as if they did something wrong. Many times, that’s not the case.”
Having a child at this time is stressful, but still fun,
Amber discharged from the TL program in January, but has
Zoey said. She’s not sure how all of this would’ve
made connections through school and the program that will help
turned out without the TL program.
her continue her road to success.
“If it wasn’t for Youth Villages, I’d be a lot further
“Amber is an extraordinary girl,” Teresaann said. “She’s a moti-
behind,” she said. “I’d still be the timid little girl I
vation for all of us at Youth Villages to help children, and she will
be an asset to anyone she mentors in the future.”
Thanks to our many supporters
The following donors made gifts to Youth Villages between Aug. 1 and
THANK YOU, 2011 HOLIDAY HEROES
Dec. 31, 2011. The board of directors and staff of Youth Villages gratefully acknowledge these thoughtful contributions. If you made a contribution during this time but it is not listed, please call the Youth Villages Knoxville office at 865-560-2550.
YV Pillar ($10,000- $24,999) Variety of Eastern Tennessee
YV Champion for Children ($1,000- $4,999) First Tennessee Foundation Dr. Chad Thomas
YV Leader ($500 - $999) Karl A. Kemmer Yale Locks and Hardware
YV Friend (Gifts up to $499) Beverly V. Abele Acadia Healthcare All About You Family Medicine Andrew Johnson Bank Bailey Insurance Baker Peters Jazz Club David Bonner Daniel Burja Gary Burnette Steve Chancey Chattanooga Area CFC Community National Bank John Douglas Josie Dowell June Fulbright Brittany Greene Harmony Adoptions of Tennessee Inc. Kendra Martin Joellen Meredith J. E. Rausin Seth Reagan Charles Rich Dr. Daniel A. Slonaker Richard Williams
Honorariums Bob and Julie Switzer Josie Dowell
Variety of Eastern Tennessee, a long-standing charity in the entertainment industry whose mission is to help disadvantaged or disabled children, awarded Youth Villages a $16,000 grant toward the purchase of gifts for more than 200 East Tennessee children for Youth Villagesâ€™ Holiday Heroes program. The East Tennessee chapter of Variety began in 2001.
JOIN OUR EFFORTS Become a force for families There are numerous ways to help. Mentor, foster parent, volunteer or financially donate to our programs. Your support can have a direct impact on the future of the more than 450 children we help every day in East Tennessee. Please call or e-mail Youth Villages to find out how to help. 9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite E-475 Knoxville, TN, 37923 865-560-2550
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YOUTH VILLAGES 9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite E475 Knoxville, TN 37923 (Address Service Requested)
NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID YOUTH VILLAGES
A private nonprofit organization, Youth Villages serves more than 18,000 children and their families from offices in the following cities: Alabama: Auburn, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile Arkansas: Jonesboro, Little Rock Florida: Lakeland, Miami, Tampa Georgia: Atlanta, Douglasville Indiana: Jeffersonville, Madison Massachusetts: Lawrence, Plymouth, Springfield, Woburn, Worcester Mississippi: Biloxi, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Hernando, Jackson, Tupelo New Hampshire: Manchester North Carolina: Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Concord, Greensboro, Greenville, Pinehurst, Raleigh-Durham, Oregon: Portland Tennessee: Chattanooga, Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Dickson, Dyersburg, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Linden, Memphis, Morristown, Nashville, Paris Washington, D.C.
New Heights East Tennessee is published by Youth Villages
Managing Editor: Amanda Tillman
Associate Editor: Chris Pennington Please call 865-560-2550 to have your name removed from our mailing list.
Founded in 1986, Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization with a national reputation for offering the most effective programs and services to help emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. Youth Villagesâ€™ Evidentiary Family Restorationâ„˘ approach involves intensive work with the child and family, a focus on measuring outcomes, keeping children in the community whenever safely possible, and providing unprecedented accountability to families and funders. The EFR approach produces lasting success for children, with success rates twice that of traditional services at one-third the cost of traditional care.