The early 1950s witnessed the organization of the Child Welfare Division under the Tennessee Department of Public Welfare. Conforming to the Department’s Institutional Standards in 1952, the Porter-Leath Home made some physical changes. Under recommendation by the Department, the institution’s nursery was closed. As a result, the Home only cared for children of school age. The nursery, originally constructed to care for infants, began to accommodate children six and seven years of age.
Other important improvements made at the Porter-Leath Home included: the installation of additional lighting, new restrooms, and a new waste system. Also during this time period, the Exchange Club assisted the Home in providing a new library for the children.
In 1953, the Home began the successful operation of “cottage type” child-care. The buildings were divided into six departments, each with twelve children, a housemother and complete living accommodations. Each unit had a television, study tables and comfortable, attractive furniture. According to the Home’s director Paul Sawrie, the transition to the small-group method of child-care stressed individual attention. In evaluating this new type of child-care, the Tennessee Department of Public Welfare declared that Porter-Leath Home had “desirable standards” - a degree higher than “minimum standards.” As a result of this proclamation, the Home no longer was required to undergo routine examinations under the new standard rules.