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The East TN, Smoky Mountain, Knox County & Northeast Relative Caregiver Program

Foothills Care is honored to be able to collaborate with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) in the expansion of Relative Caregiver services in the Knox County, Smoky Mountain, East Tennessee and Northeast DCS regions.  The East TN DCS Region includes the counties of Monroe, Loudon, Roane, Morgan, Anderson, Scott, Campbell & Union. The Smoky Mountain Region includes the counties of Claiborne, Granger, Hamblin, Sevier, Blount, Jefferson and Cocke.

Mission, Goals and Objectives of the Relative Caregiver Program

The mission and primary goal of the Relative Caregiver Program is to provide a comprehensive regional support network to promote family stability for children who are at risk of or have been the victim of abuse and neglect through ensuring their continued successful development in the care of relative caregivers. A secondary goal for the program is to create this separate support network outside of the formal child welfare system of foster care.

Description of the Relative Caregiver Program

The Relative Caregiver Program recognizes that relative caregivers are a natural resource for caring for many children requiring out-of-home care in order to prevent children from entering and re-entering the formal children welfare system, if possible, and to help the children maintain familial and cultural connections within their own family system. While relatives are often willing to care for these children, doing so may be difficult due to financial limitations and/or the need for other supportive services.

To respond to these relative caregiver needs, the Relative Caregiver Program has been designed to provide the following services and supports within the relative caregivers home and local communities:

  • Assessment of needs, along with home and community-based services and referral to other needed supports
  • Relative caregiver support groups
  • Activity/support groups for children and teens and relative placements
  • Education and workshops for children, teens, parents and relative caregivers
  • Respite and enrichment opportunities
  • Family advocacy, including short-term case management with the triad of caregiver(s), child(ren) and birth parent(s)
  • Outreach assistance
  • One time emergency financial and/or start-up assistance

This project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee.