Lewis, who often works as a guardian for children in the court system, said she volunteered for New View partly because it's a rare opportunity for two branches of government - executive and judicial - to collaborate.
"It combines the resources of both to look after the best interest of children," she said, "and particularly these children who have been somewhat lost in the process."
The courts often see these children only "when everything has gone wrong, and oftentimes, the DHHR and the court are practically adversaries," she said. If New View is a success, it could have a positive effect on future collaborations.
"And my guess is the legislative branch may come into play when this is all over," Lewis added.
Lewis and other "viewers" will be trained in conducting investigations, developing family trees and hunting down relatives. They'll learn about options for permanent placement, such as legal guardianships, adoption and other formalized living arrangements. In some cases, viewers could recommend emancipation.
Tennis said the solutions will depend on each child's circumstances and needs.
"At the very least," she said, "we would like to link children with people who will stay in their lives and with resources that will help them become successful adults."
The idea is simply to give them a place to call home - for good. Lewis said the simple need to belong struck her last Christmas as she and her daughter volunteered at an emergency shelter for 12- to 17-year-olds. They'd bought the children duffel bags, and each had a luggage tag.
The children didn't know what to write.
"They don't have an address ... something you and I would take for granted and fill out a thousand times on a form," Lewis said. "They're removed from their homes very suddenly, and all of their things end up in trash bag. And they tend to see themselves that way.
"If we can get permanency for a majority of these kids," she said, "think what a difference we will have made in their lives."