BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Isaiah 1:17 provides a safe place for children awaiting foster care placement. Their mission is to impact the lives of children in a positive manner amid entering the foster care system. Isaiah 1:17 was started by a family just wanting to make a difference.
“In 2017 Ronda and Corey Paulson had felt led to foster. They went through the training, the eight-week training, and then on week seven, they were asked to the local DCS office. There, Ronda and Corey learned that a six-year-old had slept on the floor that night,” said Cindy Chandler, the Program Coordinator for the Blount County location.
That experience led Ronda Paulson to open her first Isaiah 1:17 Home in Carter County. Since then, five homes have opened in Tennessee.
Chandler said now she has a plan to help children in need in our area. “We want to change the way foster care begins for any child in the state of Tennessee, especially in Blount County.”
The Blount County Home has two bedrooms, one for girls and another for boys. Each bedroom will have two beds and two attached full bathrooms.
“When a child is removed from DCS, we will be contacted by their team coordinator, their team leader. They will let us know whether it’s a group of siblings, one child. They’ll give us any medical history. We in turn will reach out to our certified volunteers who have gone through the background checks, paperwork with DCS, they’ve done our Isaiah trauma training. And they’ve said, yes, ‘we’re going to be there’.”
The home also will have an office space for caseworkers to work in finding a foster placement for kids. There will be several half baths, a visitation room, a full kitchen and living room space, and storage upstairs for clothing and other items children may need.
“When these children are removed whether it’s from home, school, wherever they’re taken from, chances are their hygiene is not very good, they’re probably not in the best living conditions, and their world has been turned upside down.” During one of the worst days of a foster child’s life, Chandler wants every child to know they are not alone.
According to Tennessee Kids Belong, an organization that works hand in hand with the Department of Children’s Services, there are around 220 children in foster care in Blount County. There are about 130 certified foster homes in that area.