KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- According to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS), there are more than 900 children awaiting adoption in the state of Tennessee. The children come from all walks of life, each characterized best by their own unique spirits. The children in full guardianship of the state and ready for adoption range in age from birth to 18, with the majority of the children being 10 to 17 yrs. of age. Other special populations seeking permanency are sibling groups and medically fragile children.
Omni Visions, Inc. and DCS held a celebration today to launch a new project that is intended to help older children and children with special needs find adoptive homes. The program, Project ME!, combines videos and teen-generated computer presentations to provide more individualized information to prospective parents via the Internet.
"Every child deserves a permanent home with loving adults," said Viola Miller, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. "And web video is a powerful tool that help brighten the prospects for children who need to find permanency in their lives."
The website, www.ProjectME.us, will serve Knox County and the surrounding 15 counties of the east region: Scott, Roane, Loudon, Jefferson, Blount, Cocke, Campbell, Sevier, Anderson, Morgan, Union, Grainger, Hamblen, Claiborne and Monroe.
The project was made possible by a grant awarded by the Tennessee Department of Children Services, who selected Omni Visions to develop an innovative online system to increase successful adoptions. Project ME! is being piloted in the DCS East and Knox Regions by a partnership consisting of Omni Visions, Inc.; Child and Family of Tennessee; Knoxville; Department of Children's Services East and Knox regional offices; Somerset Group, Inc., of Madison, Alabama; and In10sity Interactive of Knoxville.
"This partnership of public and private organizations came together to create an innovative adoption tool for East Tennessee," said Kathy Joyner, program director for Omni Visions. "This website will not only be used to help place these children, it will be an important tool to recruit foster parents and educate the community about the many children in our communities waiting for a family."
The Project ME! site, currently featuring 15 children, includes a two to four minute video of the child, along with teen generated presentations about their interests, creativity and desires. Each child's page also includes a short biography with more information about the child's special interests, hobbies and type of family they would prefer.
"We researched programs across the country to see what was working in other areas," said Joyner. "Then, we developed an online program based on these successes, and we believe it will have an impact on adoption rates here as well."
Project ME! used the successful online programs of the Louisiana Adoption Resource Exchange (LARE), the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) and the Three Rivers Adoption Council in Pittsburg as a basis for its program. All have seen increases in successful adoptions through online videos or presentations.
"Knowing we have to raise the standards in Tennessee to help children
find permanency more expeditiously, we researched other state projects
to help reach beyond our current strategies," said Nichole Young,
regional director of Omni Visions East. "DCS Knoxville and the East
region partners are a great group of people who together, we believe,
will contribute their energies to this project and help us bring kids to
life via the web. Our challenge is to bring the numbers down quickly.
Everyday a child waits in custody without a permanent family is one day
Omni Visions, founded in 1991, provides therapeutic foster care,
adoption services, mental retardation support and in-home services to
clients in Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. Omni Visions focuses
on providing strong support to families and employees who are helping
children, along with an array of services for those children and
For more information about Omni Visions or Project ME!,
contact Nichole Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or (865) 524-4393 or
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