The Salvation Army of
Cumberland County, TN was officially organized as a Service Unit Committee
of the Salvation Army on Oct. 1, 2001. The committee operates as a
non-profit, public service organization under the National Charter of the
Ten years ago, the manufacture and use of methamphetamine became prevalent in the Upper Cumberland region of the state, especially in Cumberland County. In 2003, approximately 190 clandestine "meth" labs were investigated by law enforcement in our county. Pursuant to the laws of the State of Tennessee, law enforcement is required to immediately remove a child from a residence where the manufacturing of process has occurred, or in which other methamphetamine abuse evidence is present.
Our mission from the beginning was to work directly with the State Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services to develop and fund a program designed to immediately assist those children who have been removed from their homes through no fault of their own, by official actions of law enforcement in conjunction with the State of Tennessee, Dept. of Children Services.
In addition to the horrors that can be found in a meth lab home, children can also be faced with severe neglect and abuse. A terrible truth is that more and more, investigators have found that a large percentage of this abuse is sexual in nature.
The use and manufacture of methamphetamine in the home is responsible for approximately 80% of the removals that result in the destruction of the family. The phenonmenon of meth abuse is mostly rural in nature, and the toxic manufacturing process has devastating effects on the children who are forced to live in the homes where the drug is made.
When these children are removed, they are taken to Cumberland Mediacal Center to examined and evaluated according to medical protocols established especially for children who live in these highly toxic environments. If not admitted to the hospital for treatment or observation, the children, now in the custody of the Dept. of Children Services, are taken to await immediate placement with a qualified relative, or in a foster-care home that has been approved by the State of Tennessee.
It is important to know that due to the high degree of contamination caused by cooking this drug, nothing inside the house is allowed to be removed with the child... no clothes, toys, books or even a blanket.
Neither the Dept. of Childrens Services employees, nor law enforcement officers are equipped to immediately respond with even the most basic of needs of these children, who can range in age from infants to teenagers.
Through the organization of the Salvation Army in Cumberland County, in conjunction with Wal-Mart corporation, and the generous donations of the residents of this county, the needs of these special children are being met. Salavation Army volunteers respond 24/7 to purchase some of what these children need to start a new life. We buy new clothing, new shoes, underwear, personal hygene items and even a toy, or book. Additionally, for the children who want to attend, we work with the foster parents or guardians to send them to a week of structured fun at the Salvation Army Camp Paradise Valley, on Dale Hollow Lake in Kentucky. The kids love it!
We would like to increase our services to the children county-wide. By partnering with other agencies; the school system, the private sector, The Salvation Army, our volunteers and donors... we can do more to answer the unmet needs of our children in Cumberland County.