Admission and Campus Life
Q. How do I admit a child or teen to Bethel?
A. You can find information on our admission process and our application here.
Q. How do I know if Bethel is the right fit?
Use the checklist on this page, and feel free to call our Director of Admissions, David Shinn, at (423) 842-5757 or send him an email.
Q. Do the children and teens live full-time on the Bethel campus?
A. Yes. Depending on their life circumstances and program they are in, some children have occasional home visits with their relatives or their legal guardian, as part of a purposeful plan to eventually reunite families when that is a safe and legal option.
Q. How old are the children and teens who come to Bethel?
A. Typically they are age 5-17, with an average age of 13. We also serve infants and toddlers whose mothers are in our teen mom program. The adults in our Next Step temporary housing program are 18 or older.
Q. How long does a child or teen stay at Bethel?
A. This depends on their life circumstances and program. Some children have made Bethel their home for many years because they do not have a safe place to go. Those who enroll in special programs with a goal to reunite them with a single parent or family, such as our Back on Track program for boys, typically stay for 9-12 months.
Q. Who cares for the children and teens at Bethel?
A. Each of our family-style homes is assigned a married Christian couple who serve as House Parents for up to eight children. Typically, each home also has a single houseparent, so someone is on duty around the clock. The single House Parent in a Boys’ Cottage will always be male, and the single House Parent in a Girls’ Cottage will always be female.
Children and teens are assigned to homes based on age, gender and/or emotional needs.
Q. What is the typical length of service of House Parents?
A. While the national average is nine months, the average tenure at Bethel is 8.7 years. Many of our House Parents see Bethel as their mission, and choose to stay with us for a long term. This strengthens our program and creates strong mentors for younger House Parents. Combined, our House Parents have more than 100 years of experience!
Q. Is Bethel licensed to provide residential care?
A. Yes. Bethel Bible Village is licensed by the TN Department of Children’s Services, which conducts at least two inspections per year on our campus. Our campus policies are in compliance with all DCS regulations and we do not allow corporal punishment.
Mental health services are coordinated by Robin Moss, LCSW, Director of Therapeutic Programs, and provided by a network of licensed professionals.
Q. Where do the Bethel children and teens go to school?
A. Middle and high school age youth attend Bethel Christian Academy, our campus school, a State-approved classroom for students needing more individualized academic help. Younger children attend a highly regarded public elementary school.
Q. Are children and teens required to attend church?
A. Yes, they attend a variety of local churches with their House Parents. Bethel is not aligned with any single denomination, but partners with many churches in the area.
Q. What about physical fitness and sports?
Our 64-acre campus gives the children in our care plenty of room to get outside and play. We have playgrounds, basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, a small baseball field and a gym in our campus school.
Middle and High School students have the opportunity to play intramural volleyball and basketball.
Q. Where do the children or teens go when they leave Bethel?
A. Most return to their legal guardians. Whenever possible, Bethel works to restore families. If they are 18 or older, they may choose to live in transitional housing on our campus, which allows them to work and gain independence and self-sufficiency, or may choose to leave and live independently.
Financial Cost and Accountability
Q. How much does it cost to send a child to Bethel?
A. We use a sliding fee scale to determine a family or guardian’s ability to contribute to program costs. Most pay a nominal monthly fee for services, but no child is turned away because of the family’s inability to pay.
Q. Are donations to Bethel tax deductible?
A. Donations to Bethel Bible Village are tax deductible, as long as they meet IRS regulations. Read More Bethel is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization
Q. How is Bethel funded?
A. Our ministry is 99% donor funded with 1% of our annual revenues coming from the State of Tennessee’s Title I program. Learn more on this page.
Q. What is Bethel’s budget?
A. Our operating expense budget for 2015/16 totals about $2 million with 85% of funds will be spent on programs for the care of our children. Read More about our revenue and expenses on this page.
The annual cost to operate one cottage with up to eight residents and four house parents is $150,000. This does not include the cost to run Bethel Christian Academy, our campus school, which is approximately $185,000 per year.
Q. Who verifies Bethel’s financial accountability?
A. Bethel is accredited by ECFA, which requires organizations to faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for Financial Accountability, Transparency, Fundraising and Board Governance. ECFA requires accredited organizations to meet Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™.
Each year, an independent CPA firm conducts an annual audit of Bethel Bible Village. Our organization received an unqualified opinion, which is known as a “clean audit,” for our most recent fiscal year, which ended on March 15, 2016.
We offer a Publicly Available 990. The 990 is an annual reporting return that federally tax-exempt organizations like Bethel must file with the IRS. It provides information on the filing organization’s mission, programs, and finances.
Q. How is Bethel governed?
A. Bethel is governed by a voluntary and independent Board of Trustees. Our trustees bring professional expertise from a wide range of business experience from various industries.
Making a Difference at Bethel
Q. What is Bethel’s greatest need?
A. First, we need financial support to keep our homes running. Recurring or regular donations help us the most, because they allow our staff to plan for the long-term. We need volunteers willing to lend a hand, whether working with our children or helping out with events and campus grounds keeping. Above all, we need prayer for the children and teens who live at Bethel, and for the staff who care for them.
Q. How do I become a Bethel volunteer?
A. There are many ways to get involved, from working at our 5 K race to mowing the grass or trimming shrubs. Some volunteers make Cottage Dinners to feed our children. Others host food drives or sort items for our Thrift Store. Some volunteers who work with our children need to go through a background check first, for the children’s safety.
To get started, check out the opportunities on the volunteer page . Then email Gale and let her know you are ready to get started!
Q. Can I adopt a baby at Bethel?
A. No, the teen moms at Bethel have made a decision to raise their babies themselves.
Make a Difference today. See ways to help.