New project offers‘touch of home' in foster child transition


CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. - Entering foster care can be very traumatic for a child. The Department of Children Services typically have limited options in between being removed from home until they find a foster home. A Carter County foster mom wants to change that how and where children spend their time in transition. She has a goal of instead of going to the DCS office they go to a warm loving house. Rhonda Paulson is a foster parent on a mission. "I feel like our eyes have been opened to a need I'm always hurt and shocked what these children are going through and we just can't walk away now," says Ronda Paulson. She wants to help every child entering they system, not just the ones passing through her home. Her vision is the Isaiah 117 House. "When a child is removed they don't have to go to a DCS office they can come to a home environment and be loved on and have needs met, says Ronda Paulson, "We say we are caring for children in transition, awaiting foster placement. We are really talking about 2-6 hours." Pam Harr who oversees cases in Carter, Sullivan, and Johnson County. With over 100 new cases coming in each month, the veteran DCS supervisor became emotional describing to me the impact Isaiah 117 House could have. "It would be so much less traumatic," says Pam Harr from the Department of Children's Services, "than from case managers trying to do their job and to make sure they are sheltered from things going on in the office." There are a few toys and a small restroom where staff members can help the kids clean up. The wait is typically a few hours, with a roll away cot if they stay all night. "We do not have a surplus of foster homes, it part of the problem. There is a great need for foster homes," says Pam Harr. Paulson and her Isaiah 117 House team are currently working under the umbrella of an exiting non profit, but hope to have their status complete in a few months. They are trying to raise 75-thousand dollars to buy a house, followed by renovations with an opening goal of next year. They will kick of the fundraising with a community event August 1 at noon in the Pine Room behind Sycamor Shoals Hospital.

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