We believe that healthy communities start with healthy children.

The Children’s Resource Center aims to improve community health by investing in the health of children and their families through targeted outreach and support programs. We work with healthcare providers, schools and community agencies to engage children and families in healthy behaviors, help them navigate through complex health challenges, and connect them to resources and support networks that can best meet their needs.


To identify and respond to the healthcare needs of children, families and communities in our region and to assist them in obtaining the highest level of health.


To be the region’s leader in health education and resources for both healthy children and those children who require a higher level of medical care. To be the first choice for people seeking health services for their children, or with health needs beyond traditional pediatric care.

Family Engagement

Every child is different. Children whose families are fully engaged in their unique healthcare decisions have better outcomes.

The family engagement program coordinator at the Children’s Resource Center will be on-site in the Family Resource Center on the first floor of Niswonger Children’s Hospital. The manager will help families navigate care in a variety of ways, including the development of Individual Education Plans (IEP), ordering equipment, and ensuring the family understands and is able to manage medication and treatment plans.

The program also includes:

  • Resources, books, and information on-site in the Family Resource Center.
  • Family resource specialists who are family members of a child or youth with special healthcare needs. These specialists will be trained, and stationed in each region in our 29-county service area to provide community-based support for families.
  • Education opportunities for the greater community, including conferences, workshops and training sessions with the goal of a living system of care that is family-driven, community-based and responsive to the changing needs of those it serves.

Community Engagement

Community engagement and health promotion empowers children and families to make healthy lifestyle choices with regard to physical activity, nutrition and safety. The Children’s Resource Center focuses on three key areas to improve children’s health: wellness, education/literacy and safety.

The program is comprised of three main focus areas:

  • Safety/Injury Prevention Programs: According to the Tennessee Department of Health, more than 18% of childhood deaths in Tennessee were deemed accidental, meaning they were preventable. The Children’s Resource Center will offer injury prevention programs to prevent these often devastating injuries and fatalities.
  • Wellness Programs: Wellness programs distribute health promotion messages that encourage better choices and better overall health outcomes. The Children’s Resource Center works with existing and developing community programs to achieve a positive impact across a broad audience.
  • Literacy Programs: Studies have found a significant relation between reading levels and health status. Additional early childhood studies indicate that children who are below reading level at third grade have a much lower potential to finish school. In order to ensure that children have the support to reach and maintain appropriate education levels, and allow them the potential to grow into healthy adults, the Children’s Resource Center has developed several programs that promote literacy and reading.

Care Navigation

Children with chronic and complex health conditions and their families need help managing the specialized care they receive. The Children’s Resource Center serves children with a ride range of serious conditions such as cerebral palsy, cancer, congenital heart disease and intellectual disabilities. Treatment of these conditions is complex, and children and families often need help to ensure they do not experience deterioration in their health and quality of life. The Care Navigation Team at the Children’s Resource Center will provide a support system that supplements the care they receive from their physicians and other providers. The Care Navigation Team will work to coordinate care for patients served at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, and care that may be delivered at other locations.

The program also includes:

  • Creation of a comprehensive care plan with the primary care provider.
  • A team-based approach to care, including communication with physicians, social workers, specialists, etc.
  • Continual care navigation to patients and families between scheduled visits to potentially include home visits by a social worker to assess other potential needs and to ensure a high level of care.

Niswonger Children’s Hospital advocates for the unique health needs of children, both inside and outside the walls of the hospital. While many may only think of a hospital as a place to go when someone is sick or injured, Niswonger Children’s Hospital also works throughout the community to keep children safe and healthy.

The Children’s Resource Center at Niswonger Children’s Hospital will collaborate with ETSU’s Quillen’s Department of Pediatrics and other community organizations to provide programs in three key areas: Health Promotion, Patient & Family Empowerment, and Care Navigation. Together, the programs aspire to empower children and families with the common goal of allowing children and families to receive the health education and care they need, as close to home as possible.

For more information about the Children’s Resource Center, please call or email Tara Chadwell, Director, Children’s Resource Center at 423-431-4891 or ChadwellTN2@msha.com.