Teaching Family Homes

The Ohio Teaching Family Association consists of several family-styled group homes that work with youth to help them succeed and be their best possible selves. 
Farris Home


The Farris Home is located in Swanton Ohio, in the highly rated Anthony Wayne School District. Kim Poling started working as a staff member at the Farris Home in 2009 and officially took over as the homeowner in 2021. Kim has two adult daughters and four granddaughters, so of course it feels fitting that she now owns a home especially for teenage girls. Kim is now managing the home and has a team there that is ready to provide a caring, supportive, safe space for our youths.

At our home we focus on helping the girls learn independent living skills, personal responsibility, and provide counseling for their individual needs. We have a few special amenities at our home. The girls enjoy swimming in our pool often in the warm months. We have a beautiful 5 acres of land that has a pond in the back perfect for walks and activities. We have a salon for our girls to use which has been amazing when we have had youths that have chosen to attend Penta Career Center for Cosmetology. 

new favorite space of the youths is the craft room that was created for the girls to express themselves and have a creative outlet. The Farris Home has 7 bedrooms but licensed to accommodate up to 10 youths. We tend to try and keep it to 7 youths so each girl can have their own individual bedroom to feel comfortable in and have a safe space of their own.

The Farris Group Home Staff enjoys holidays and always makes sure the girls feel special and loved. We enjoy going on outings to Cedar Point, the Toledo Zoo, and we do a weekly Friday Night Out of dinner and shopping for those girls that have earned privileges.

Lee Home

Doug and Sylvia Lee began living with children in 1968 at the Jones Home for Children in Cleveland after working with children at Sagamore Hills Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, Educational Development Center and the Upward Bound program in Little Rock Arkansas. While working at the Berea Children’s Home, Doug earned a masters degree in social work (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University. While at the University of Kansas, pursuing their doctoral degrees, Doug and Sylvia were co-directors of Achievement Place for Girls, where much Teaching-Family research was conducted. They had the pleasure of discussing the Teaching-Family Model with people from across the United States and around the world as part of the dissemination program funded by NIMH. While students at the University of Kansas, the National Teaching-Family Association was being formed and Doug was a charter Teaching-Parent representative to NaT-FA. After completing most of the course work for the doctoral program, the Lees were offered the opportunity to develop a group home project from the ground up consisting of four group homes in the Toledo area for Cummings-Zucker Center (CZC).

After six years with CZC, Doug and Sylvia decided that it was time to develop a group home program of their own and they were the original incorporators of the Ohio Teaching-Family Association (OTFA). They were joined by friends and colleagues who had years of experience in the Teaching-Family Model.

Doug and Sylvia enjoy working with older adolescent boys preparing for adulthood. They are licensed to provide care for ten foster sons in their home in Swanton, Ohio. The Lee home is located just outside the Village of Swanton on what used to be a ten-acre horse farm. Sylvia enjoys cooking, decorating, landscape and gardening. She enjoys spending time in her evolving English garden and teaching her foster sons about plants. Sylvia occasionally dusts off the piano and teaches the kids music as well as accompanying singing at Christmas and celebrations.

Doug loves working in the garage where the Lees and several of their older foster sons have developed a welding shop; a woodworking shop, a bicycle shop and mechanics shop with a professional automotive lift. Their foster sons always have opportunities to learn carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and general maintenance through one of the ongoing projects around the house, helping neighbors, or helping build Habitat for Humanity homes. They guys also have opportunities to earn extra money by working for the Lees or through employment in the Swanton area.

The Lees love helping young people expand their knowledge of the world. In addition to their foster sons, the Lees have had six foreign exchange students on a short-term exchange adult from Russia as guests in their home.

Sylvia and Doug take pride in being Teaching-Parents, and they are also active in community affairs. Sylvia has been an officer in school related organizations. Doug is a past president of the Swanton Rotary Club and a past member of the Swanton Board of Education. He is also executive director of the Ohio Teaching-Family Association.

Hartman Home

 Before joining the Ohio Teaching-Family Association in 2002, Fred and Sherri Hartman had been Family Teachers at Girls and Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska for 15 years. They now reside in Springfield Township in a large home on a quiet cul-de-sac. The Hartman home is located close to schools, jobs, services, and the YMCA.

Fred and Sherri have earned certification 14 times as teaching family parents. Sherri received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Bellevue University in Omaha, Nebraska. Fred has a background in construction and attended college in Omaha. The Hartman’s spent 4 years as missionaries in Alaska and California before entering full-time youth care.

Fred and Sherri have two adult children and one teenage boy of their own. They have had 80 children live with them at Girls and Boys Town. Many of the children who have lived with the Hartman’s maintain an on-going relationship with Fred and Sherri.

The Hartman’s and the boys in their home enjoy participating in outdoor activities including picnics, hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, and bike riding. Fred enjoys teaching outdoor skills. Sherri enjoys the traditional role of homemaker and is a wonderful cook. She also teaches the youth the skills involved in making a home. Sherri creates a comfortable environment for the youth in her home. Birthdays and holidays are a special time in the Hartman home. Fred and Sherri incorporate many traditions in each celebration.

Jackson Home

Hello, we would like to introduce ourselves and let you all know how excited we are to serve our community. We are Allen and Mia Jackson. We have been married for over 17 years.

Mia is a U.S Army veteran who Graduated from Whitmer High School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toledo in Health Information Management. Mia is very organized and patient when teaching young people living skills that will benefit them not only while in the home, but also as they prepare to be productive adults living and having families of their own.

 Allen is a Scott High School graduate who has worked with troubled young men in the community for nearly 20 years. He started mentoring with the Covenant Youth Development program where he eventually monitored one of the first online class rooms in Toledo. For the past 6 years Allen has been managing three supported living sites for the N.O.W. House program of OT-FA, which provides home personal care services for young adult men with Developmental Disabilities.

 The Jackson home is a supervised therapeutic family setting that will provide the boys with a stable structured environment that will enable them to gain as well as maintain the autonomous living skills, education, and social behavioral skills that would benefit them in their future endeavors. We will be a safe haven that will provide individualized on-site counseling delivered by a certified counselor, for those in need, there will be a sex offender treatment group available. Our Home follows the Teaching Parent model, emphasizing the importance of self-development via education, responsibility,  self-worth, socially appropriate morals and values,  an excellent work ethic, self-respect and respect of others, and problem solving skills.

Our home will be able to provide opportunities not only to enable the youth to reach their immediate goals but to also expose them to other unknown experiences by way of:

  • Sporting events
  • Sports participation
  • Historical sites
  • Museums
  • Recreational excursions
  • Educational ventures
  • Vocational awareness (such as exposer to various careers)
  • Social events
    • College visits
    • College enrollment
    • Military enrollment
    • High School graduation
    • Job hunting
    • Application completion
    • Resume preparation
    • Tutoring
    • Hygiene/personal development


We will encourage our youth to cultivate any constructive interests that they have.  For those that apply, our home is equipped to assist in:

Porter Home

The Porter Group Home was established by Fred Porter and Reuben Burks to provide a place for young men to Be safe, Gain Confidence, Work on Education, Develop Positive Life Skills, and Transition into a Productive Adulthood or Reunification.

Fred brings over 40 years’ experience working with youth. St Anthony Villa of the Toledo Catholic Diocese is where Fred started his career and spent 10 years working with youth in a residential setting. Fred then worked for Lucas County Juvenile Court as a probation officer for over 30 years. The Lee Group Home is where Fred helped guide youth through different Vocational trainings for over 5 years before establishing The Porter Home. Fred is also a Board Member of Glass City Academy which was established in 2003 to focus on dropout prevention and recovery.

Reuben has over 15 years' experience in management for The Home Depot, American Red Cross, and Samsung Electronics America.  Mentoring and giving back has always been a passion for Reuben. Reuben has volunteered with youth for career planning and education in the Columbus School System. Worked with his wife and church group providing essential toiletries and other supplies need to the Homeless of Toledo. Coached Track and Field for high school kids in the Toledo area.

Activities are a big part of the daily schedule for The Porter Home. Youth will participate in basketball, bowling, biking, vacations, household construction projects, movies, games, and other social interactions. Maintaining a household is also a part of the daily schedule. Holiday’s and Birthdays are a special event in The Porter Home.

Waller Home

 We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and share some information about who we are. We are Rod and Susie Waller. We have recently purchased a home in Perrysburg, Ohio after moving here from Boys Town, Nebraska. We have 3 adult children still living in Omaha Nebraska. Our oldest daughter is a nurse, our son is an Omaha Police Officer and our daughter works at the Omaha Airport. We have 2 granddaughters and another one due in June.

        We began working for Father Flanagan’s Boys Home, or “Boys Town” in 1986. We were Certified Family Teachers in a home for 8-10 at risk adolescent males for 3 years. We moved to Tallahassee, Florida to open a girl’s home for Boys Town. We opened the home and worked with 6 female youth for 3 years. While in Florida we both completed our Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology.

        We moved back to Omaha at which time Susie took a position with the State of Nebraska working as a Case manager for Child Protective Services. Rod continued to work for Boys Town as an Assistant Family Teacher for 2 years and then became a Site Coordinator in Boys Town’s training department. Rod became a certified trainer in many of the Boys Town’s various programs. He traveled to several states training school personnel; youth care workers and many other professionals that worked with youth. The training consisted of training professionals how to use the behavior modification system that Boys Town developed within their various fields.

         Susie worked as a Case manager for 7 years and then returned to Boys Town to work in the training department. She traveled as Rod did but trained Boys Town’s Common Sense Parenting programs to state agencies and she also trained foster care workers that were working with troubled youth.

        While Rod was providing Boys Town training for a Youth program in Connecticut the agency offered him a position as the Director of Training.  Susie was offered a position as the Program Director of a shelter for 6 adolescent males and 6 females. After several years of administrative work we both realized we missed working directly with children.

        We have been Certified Family Teachers for 13 years. We are looking forward to working in Ohio and providing a safe environment for the children in this community.