Chambliss Center for Children and Tennessee-based nonprofit organization Isaiah 117 House celebrated the kick-off of the first Isaiah 117 House in Hamilton County on Sunday.
Isaiah 117 House, located in the states of Tennessee and Indiana, serves to provide a warm, comforting environment for children awaiting a foster placement. Children who are removed from their homes out of concern for their welfare are typically taken to the Department of Children’s Services Offices to await foster placement. This wait can be several hours to several days. Isaiah 117 House provide an alternative calming home environment where these children can instead be brought to wait– a place that is safe with friendly and loving volunteers who provide clean clothes, smiles, toys, food, and more. This space allows children to receive the reassurance and care they need while case workers identify a good foster placement, said officials.
“On removal day, if there is not an Isaiah 117 House present, [children] will go to a cubical or a conference room, and they will sit and await placement,” said Founder and CEO of Isaiah 117 House Ronda Paulson during the event. ”These children need baths; they need possessions; these children need love…What if, on removal day, when a child is experiencing the most traumatic day of their life, they don’t go to a cubical or a conference room – they go to a home?”
During the kick-off event, Ms. Paulson shared her story as a foster parent that led to forming Isaiah 117 House. Katie Harbison, president of Chambliss Center for Children, then spoke about the vision of the Isaiah 117 House on the campus of Chambliss Center for Children.
“We are here for the best interest of the children in our community,” said Ms. Harbison as she addressed the in-person guests and those watching the live stream. “We already do foster care. We already do Transitional Living for those who have aged out of foster care, and this is that piece where we have not been involved in the lives of those children – removal day. We are thrilled that this is going to complete that continuum of care and service to children, and I think it fits right in with what we’re already doing…. We look forward to walking this journey with you to the first Isaiah 117 House in Hamilton County.”
The Isaiah 117 House at Chambliss Center for Children will be located on the Chambliss Center for Children Campus. Renovations of the current Mary Rhoda Porter Administrative Building, which will serve as the Isaiah 117 House, as well as a secondary building for relocating administrative offices, will be underway by end of 2021.