Childhelp Foster Family Agency of East Tennessee

In 1999, the Childhelp Foster Family Agency of East Tennessee opened its doors to fulfill its role in creating healthy, loving family relationships between children and families. Actively recruiting, certifying and training foster families in Eastern Tennessee, Childhelp provides the following services:

  • Foster family certification
  • Case management
  • Free, ongoing foster family training
  • Crisis intervention
  • Respite services

Peace – The True Name for Home

Childhelp provides case management and training for families to maximize each child’s potential to heal and grow. The ultimate goal is to create a place of peace for the child and family — to create a home. With this in mind, Childhelp creates individualized treatment plans which meet each foster child’s needs, including appropriate individual and family therapy sessions and supervised visits with the child’s biological parents.

In response to the unique needs of children in the foster care system, the agency developed support programs and training to promote the unity and quality of Tennessee foster homes. Childhelp conducts home studies to maintain the quality of each foster home and verify that the family/child relationship is healthy. Therapy sessions are offered to cultivate trust and healthy relationships between the families and the foster youth.

The agency also promotes successful reunification with biological parents, working with foster youth and their biological parents through positive parenting training and supervised child visitations.

What does it take to be a foster parent in Tennessee?

  • Ability to provide a warm, secure and nurturing home.
  • Establish a partnership between the child’s social worker, therapist, teachers and physicians.
  • Completion of 30 hours of P.A.T.H training (Parents As Tender Healers).
  • Commitment, understanding, patience and the willingness to accept and provide guidance to children with diverse backgrounds and challenges.
  • Provide consistent, fair and age appropriate guidance for children.
  • Potential foster parents are screened through a series of interviews, background checks, training, and home interviews.
  • Be 21 years of age or older.
  • Be legally married or single.
  • Be a resident of the State of Tennessee.
  • Be employed or have a source of viable income.
  • Have space in your home for a child.
  • Have a working automobile and auto insurance, as well as home owners or renter’s insurance.

What will the Childhelp Foster Family Agency Provide?

  • Free foster parent training so you can earn the hours you need to become certified as a therapeutic foster home.
  • Once certified, Childhelp provides ongoing training to help you be a successful foster parent.
  • Case management for each foster child.
  • 24-hour on call support services for emergency situations.
  • Respite care to give you a break if you need one.
  • Financial stipend of up to $1050 a month per foster child to cover the cost of bringing a child or teen in need into your home. This covers expenses such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, personal care, recreation and allowance (Funds are not taxable as income.)

Being a Foster Care Parent

From Childhelp parents in Knoxville Tennessee:

“Being a foster parent with Childhelp Tennessee has been a truly rewarding experience.

Our journey began February 1st, 2006. My husband and I attended all the required PATH (Parents As Tender Healers) training and felt like we were prepared. “Bring it on”, we said. Believe me, nothing can prepare you for the wounded children that come to your home when you get the call asking if you can open your heart. I will never forget the look of fear and uncertainty in the eyes of the two children that walked into our lives that night. They were so used to a life of unspeakable neglect that a simple hug sent waves of fear throughout them.

Little by little our lives began to have routine and the people of Childhelp became our lifeline. What a ride! The two wounded children we first met in February are now flourishing teenagers who are smothered with kisses and hugs. The past will always be a part of them and us. Our experience has truly made us better people. I sometimes wonder if they saved us or if we saved them. Tony and I thank God daily for the miracles that he has sent our way and the friends we have made at Childhelp. I am often asked, would I do it again? Absolutely. We had the opportunity to truly look in the eyes of God. How many people can say that?”

Enrichment Programs

Community Outreach and Educational Trainings

Program Characteristics

Received national accreditation from the Council of Accreditation (COA) in 2009.

Through a competitive process in 2009, Childhelp has been awarded a contract to serve foster children from the State of Tennessee.

Located on a scenic, 50-acre farm surrounded by foothills in east Tennessee. The property has a newly completed barn and cabin for respite retreats and foster youth recreation.

Key Staff

  • Stephanie Perdue, LCSW, Program Director
  • Hugh Nystrom, Community Relations, Tennessee
  • Additional Staff
    • 4 Case Manager
    • 2 Resource Parent Support Staff
    • 1 Office Manager
    • 1 Compliance Specialist

Program Statistics, Fiscal Year 2013

  • 89 Children Served (Under Age 18)
  • 2,136 Service Units Provided (Community/Parent Trainings, Case Management, and Tutoring)
  • 30 Children Placed
  • 83% Percentage Adopted or Returned to Birth Family
  • 21 Adoptions


Hugh Nystrom — hnystrom@childhelp.og
T- 865-637-1753
F- 865-573-9673

For General Questions and Inquiries, please fill out the contact form below.


Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Childhelp. There are countless ways for you to use your passion and talents to help children in your community and nation-wide. Our mission is possible only with the dedication of helping hands across the country. Compassionate individuals just like you are essential to our commitment to bring hope, strength and joy into the lives of children suffering from neglect and abuse.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer please fill out the form below and a representative will contact you soon. What you do today will offer a child in crisis a brighter future tomorrow.