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Providing a safe, nurturing environment for at-risk children

Children from abusive or neglectful homes, as well as children from loving families who may experience a troubled period, often lack the fundamental skills to succeed in school, their communities and life. They need a safe place to live, a nurturing environment in which to grow and the emotional and physical support that only comes from making the right Connections. This group of Porter-Leath programs is operated by clinical staff 24-hours a day, and focuses on providing residential, foster care and adoption services for children from birth to age 18 in a supportive and therapeutic environment.

Porter-Leath Connections Program utilizes a trauma-informed universal approach addressing trauma, traumatic stress and related issues by promoting resilience to children throughout its foster care and residential programs. 


Porter-Leath needs you!

Our children need caring individuals to provide nurturing homes. We'll provide the best training and a monthly stipend to care for a child with no other place to go. To become a foster parent, call 901-577-2500 or click HERE to learn more about becoming a foster parent.



Since its inception in 1850, Porter-Leath has cared for children without viable or stable families while continually broadening its scope to fill the community’s need. Porter-Leath opened its foster care and adoption program in 1986 to place children from abusive environments with parents willing to care for them in a home setting. In 1993, the doors to Sarah’s Place were opened to serve as a structured therapeutic shelter to meet the emergency needs of children.

Other Facts

  • Clients qualify for services when they have been removed from their home due to child abuse or neglect, or are homeless.

  • Clients are referred through the TN Department of Children Services, community service providers, the school system and self-referrals.

  • Funding is provided by the TN Department of Children Services.

  • Porter-Leath recognizes and complies with all PREA standards.

  • Porter-Leath is a member of the school nutritional program and supports wellness for children and youth. A copy of the wellness plan is available at Sarah's Place for viewing.

Additional Resources

Home Free

Did you leave home? Are you ready to return but don’t know how to approach it with your family or even how you will make it back? You are not alone. Thanks to the National Runaway Safeline's Home Free program, in collaboration with Greyhound Lines, Inc., more than 17,000 youth have been reunited with family members free of charge. The first step to begin the Home Free process is to call 1-800-786-2929. If you’re not quite ready to call, check out some more information about the Home Free program by clicking HERE.

Services Provided

  • Individual therapy and specialized treatment
  • Group and recreational therapy
  • Life skills training
  • Community referral and follow up
  • Family counseling
  • Meals and shelter


  • Children receive the physical, emotional and educational support they so desperately need
  • Stronger communities through healthier, young adults
  • Safe, therapeutic environment 
  • Exit to permanency 

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of children does Porter-Leath need foster parents to foster?

Foster Parents are needed to foster teenagers and sibling groups that range from 2 to 6 children.

How many classes will I have to take to become a foster parent?

The KEY (Knowledge Empowers You) Curriculum consists of the following sessions: Understanding the Child Welfare System, Impact of Trauma on Children, Effective Discipline for Hurt Children, Cultural Awareness & Expert Panel, as well as CPR & First Aid and Medication Administration.

When and where are the classes held?

KEY sessions are held at Porter-Leath, 868 Manassas, in Gould Cottage on Saturday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12 Noon. At least four KEY courses are completed annually. Please call Lisa Arnold at 901-577-2500 ext 1179 for more details on KEY or to register for the next session.

Does my husband have to attend KEY?

Yes. Your husband and household members 18 and older that will give direct care are required to attend KEY.

I am single. Can I become a foster parent?

Single or married adults can become foster parents.

Is there an application for foster parents?

Porter-Leath has a resource parent application. This application will be mailed to prospective foster parents that contact the agency. Applications will also be distributed during the KEY Orientation.

What kind of information will I have to submit to become a foster parent?

Each prospective resource parent will be given a list of the documentation that is necessary in order to complete the home study. Information such as proof of income, birth certificates, social security, Tennessee Driver’s License and vehicle insurance are some of the required documents.

Can I become a foster parent if I have been arrested?

Background checks and fingerprints are completed on prospective foster parents. According to the Department of Children’s Services, no applicant may be approved who has a felony conviction for the following: A child safety issue, spousal Abuse, a crime against a child or children (including child pornography), a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery.

How many children can I foster?

The number of children that a foster parent is approved for will be determined by the space in the home and the number of children the foster parent is willing to foster. No home can have more than six children. This number includes birth and foster children.

I already have a CPR & First Aid card that expires next year. Do I have to take CPR & First Aid with Porter-Leath?

No. Just provide a copy of the card.

Explore More Programs View Programs

Your monthly gift provides on-going support!

Need some ideas?


$5 -  Toiletry kit for a foster child
$10 - Personal Bedding for a runaway child
$25 -  School uniform for a foster child
$50 - Recreation outings for 2 foster children
$75 - Foster Parent Training