Started in 2009, the Tennessee Partnership for Ongoing Parental Support (TPOPS) contributes to the welfare of the children of incarcerated parents who are better-empowered to support them. TPOPS, based in the College of Social Work, provides child support case assistance to noncustodial fathers who are incarcerated or recently released from Morgan County Regional Correctional Complex. TPOPS delivers child support education and parenting classes that build trust, in order to encourage inmates to enroll into TPOPS. The program provides informational sessions for correctional staff so they can also assist inmates with basic child support questions. The program cultivates community partnerships to better assure participants have access to needed services upon release from corrections and provides an information clearinghouse for child support offices statewide. These programs are funded through a contract administered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services and the University of Tennessee.
Community partners include Young Williams Child Support Services in Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Human Services Child Support Program, Tennessee Department of Corrections, and the Morgan County Regional Correctional Complex. University of Tennessee partners include the College of Social Work and the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service.
Impact on UT
UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek identified the TPOPS program as an exemplar of the kind of community engagement approach that he would like to see emulated by others at UT with a real impact upon the lives of citizens in our community. In the 2009 Chancellor’s report he stated, “TPOPS is only one of the ways UT Knoxville enriches the lives of Tennessee’s citizens.” The program is one way UT makes its resources available to address social challenges in our state.
Impact on Community
Short-Term impacts of the Tennessee Partnership for Ongoing Parental Support includes assurance that the incarcerated parent is aware of the responsibilities regarding their child or children’s financial well-being. TPOPS connects re-entering parents with community resources and family advocacy services. The program helps re-entering parents maintain employment, which establishes steady and long-term child support payments.
Long-Term impacts of TPOPS include help to reconnect the parent and child whenever in the child’s best interest; help to prevent recidivism; and help to break the cycle of children of incarcerated parents entering prison.
- Social Work Office of Research & Public Service (SWORPS) – Child Support Programs
- Download a TPOPS Brochure
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