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Wanted: Families Willing to Open Homes, Hearts

Elizabeth Peeples, Youth Villages

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  More than 8000 Tennessee children needed a foster home this past year. The State had to place many of them in temporary care because there weren’t enough foster families to meet the demand.

Memphis based Youth Villages found homes for more than 150 mid-state children over the past year. The agency begins twice weekly training classes for prospective foster parents Thursday evening in Mufreesboro.

Youth Villages spokesman Blake Bohanan says new foster parents are provided with extensive training and ongoing 24-7 support.

“The families that we find that are the most successful and do the best are the ones that are passionate about being parents and that will approach the children in the same way that we try to approach the children and that is keeping their needs first.”

Terry and Dave Dovell went through the Youth Villages training. Terry says the staff made it clear that everything was open for discussion and there was no such thing as a dumb question.

“We were one of the few couples that had never had children. So we had a ton of questions, because we’d never experienced rearing a child.”

The Dovell’s ended up fostering Nahan, who turns 13 this week. The couple eventually decided to adopt. Nathan says one of the things he loves about his new mom is her contagious laugh.

“She’ll just start laughing out of nowhere (Terry laughs) Like that…and then I’ll start laughing. It’s like yawning. (Mike: It’s like what?) Yawning. You see a person yawn, you yawn.”

Youth Villages will hold their first training class beginning Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church, located at 200 East Main Street, Murfreesboro. For more information, contact Blake Bohanan at 615-250-7318 or email blake.bohanan@youthvillages.org.