HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – Children who are awaiting a foster home placement in Hamilton County will soon have a new place to find comfort.
The organizations say that finding families who are willing, and able, to foster children during a pandemic has been even more challenging than in years past.
“It’s already a huge ask to ask these foster families to do what they do, but then to ask in the middle of the pandemic to put their own family at risk even more – it’s been really hard,” says Katie Harbison, President of Chambliss Center for Children.
For this reason, the two organizations have decided to join forces to provide a safe place for children to stay-while they await a foster care placement.
“It’s one thing to enter a foster home dirty and with nothing that is yours. It’s another thing to enter a foster home, having a bath, a meal and picking out new clothes so you have a backpack full of stuff that is yours. We want to provide dignity in that moment. We want to provide hope and send the message that they have done nothing wrong,” says Ronda Paulson, Isaiah House CEO.
Officials say when children are removed from their homes they typically have to wait inside an office at the Department of Children Services.
“You are sitting in an office; phones are ringing, faxes are coming in, people are talking about lunch and you don’t feel like people see you or hear you. We want to create a space where we see you, we hear you, what do you need? That’s what we can provide with an Isaiah House,” says Paulson.
This will be the first Isaiah 117 House in our area and both organizations are hopeful that this new environment will make the transition to foster care a less anxious one for many Hamilton County children.