For children in foster care, doing what a family would do

For those in the LGBTQI community, the option of fostering or adopting often involves a long journey full of questions about how it will affect their family unit. This is an important part of the process for anyone to go through to determine if becoming a foster parent is an appropriate option for them.

Unfortunately, the need for great foster families in Tennessee is immense: it can often be difficult to find enough families willing to open up their homes to help a child heal. This month's Nashville LGBT Chamber spotlight member is an organization that promotes foster care, Monroe Harding.

"Membership in the LGBT Chamber was a no-brainer for Monroe Harding”, says Monica Beere, foster parent recruiter. "It gives us a professional and consistent way to reach out to potential LGBTQI foster parents and provides us the networking opportunities with other LGBT-affirming businesses and organizations we can utilize to provide services for our young people who identify as LGBTQI."

What is foster care?

Children enter foster care when the courts determine they need to be temporarily or permanently removed from their birth family due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Right now in Tennessee there are over 6,000 children in foster care, including many teenagers and sibling groups.

The goal of foster care is to provide children (up to 18 years of age) with a safe, nurturing environment while their birth parents improve their ability to care for their children, with the ultimate goal being reunification with the family. The majority of children who come into foster care are reunited with their birth family. If children are unable to return to their birth family or relatives, the goal will become adoption or, for older youth, independent living. When adoption is possible, children can be adopted by their foster parents and become part of their forever family.

Why should I foster through Monroe Harding?

Monroe Harding was founded in 1893 by Mrs. Fannie Harding, in memory of her husband, Dr. James Monroe Harding. Today, the youth who are recipients of Fannie Harding’s legacy either are, or have been, in state’s custody. Just as in Fannie Harding’s day, Monroe Harding still strives to give every child the chance for a better life.

Through Monroe Harding, 24/7 support is given for the foster families by trained and compassionate staff who will be able to assist with everyday life as well as emergencies and crises. As a trauma-informed healing community, Monroe Harding provides wrap-around support with individualized case management focusing on the needs of the foster youth in the home.

Who can become a foster parent?

Like the children Monroe Harding serves, its foster parents come from diverse cultural, social and financial backgrounds. Below is the list of requirements needed to be able to become a foster parent:

  • Are at least 25 years of age.
  • Are single or married
  • Are able to meet basic income guidelines
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Can provide stable and consistent housing with comfortable bedroom space and a separate bed for each foster child.
  • Attend PATH (Parents as Tender Healers) classes, required by the state of Tennessee
  • Are willing for everyone 18 years and older in your household to undergo complete background checks.
  • Embrace differences of racial, ethnic, religious, social and educational backgrounds.

For more information about Monroe Harding and the services they provide, or for more information about becoming a foster family, visit






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