Bright Spot: Porter-Leath foster care program is making a difference in children’s lives

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In 1850 when Porter-Leath opened its doors they were an orphanage. Today the organization operates a group home and places children in foster homes. Right now there's a need for more foster parents in Shelby County.

"A good foster parent is a parent that will take the child where they are. Whatever has happened to them, whatever they've been through, they're wiling to be there to nurture, to care for them and not be judgemental," Lisa Arnold explained to WREG's Markova Reed.

She said children are placed in foster care if they're abused, neglected or sexually abused.

The selfless act of opening your home could save a child's life.

Foster parent Christy White said she decided to take a child into her home because she was adopted.

"It was just my way of ensuring one or two children were able to have what I had."

A 1-year-old was placed with White for 5 months. The single, working professional said it was experience she'll never forget.

"Of course I was a little nervous but I worked through it and me and the baby did very well."

White went through a background check, home visits and met a full slate of requirements before a child was placed with her. Once the particulars were complete, White said the classes and guidance Porter-Leath provided were invaluable.

"Porter-Leath has a really good support system. If you get stuck or you feel like you don't have an answer just call them."

Arnold said anyone can be a good foster parent but they are looking for some specific people to answer this call.

"We need younger parents as well. Maybe they will raise foster children along with their own children."

White's foster child was in her home for 5 months. The goal of foster care is to reunite children with their families when it's possible. She said she misses the baby but understood her role in the process.

"It's been rewarding. I don't have any kids, so it was a learning process, but it has been very exciting."

There are 8,500 children in Tennessee in foster care and many of then are right here in Shelby County. That's why there's a call for more families to open their homes and their hearts.

"It would be great if the children in foster care in Shelby County are able to stay in homes in Shelby County."

If you've ever thought about parenting, there are foster children in Shelby County who need you to put that thought into action.

To get in contact with Porter-Leath, click here.