Mid-South in urgent need of foster care families

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An official Supreme Court opinion on a Mississippi case that could overturn Roe v. Wade likely won’t come for months. But last week’s leak of a draft majority opinion is already posing the question: how would the overruling impact foster care and adoptions?

One case manager told FOX13 that the system is already stretched thin. She said the state of Tennessee is in urgent need of foster care families.

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While it’s hard to predict the impacts overturning Roe v. Wade could have if abortion becomes illegal, as it could in all three Mid-South states, she said it is possible they may see even more children coming into the system.

Teri Seaton-Reaves is the director of the Memphis branch of Bethany Christian Services, an organization that works to connect foster families with special needs children.

“As of today, we have over 8,000 children in foster care in the state of Tennessee. So, as you can see, there is a great need because we have a large number of children in foster care,” she said.

Seaton-Reaves said there is an urgent call for more people and families to step up.

“As you can imagine, it’s hard to recruit families and individuals who may be willing to open up their home and heart to often difficult situations that may not be ideal for the average person,” she said.

Seaton-Reaves said talk of possibly overturning Roe v. Wade has some people wondering how much of an impact this could have on babies being put up for adoption.

“Our system is already worn down with families who are unable sometimes to meet the needs of their children, whether it be financial, educational, or emotional. Unfortunately, those are life struggles, and those are not going to change for a lot of people,” Seaton-Reaves said.

With thousands of children in Tennessee already waiting to be fostered, she said it is more important than ever that more families open their homes and their hearts.

“You could impact a child’s life by being there for them through the good and the bad because oftentimes the children come from very hard backgrounds,” she said. “I feel like that is very rewarding that you can give back to your community in a time of need.”

According to the Kids Count Data Center, in 2020, there were nearly 8,900 children in the foster care system in Tennessee, about 3,600 in Mississippi, and almost 4,300 children in Arkansas.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent through Bethany Christian Services, CLICK HERE to find out more.