GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) After only two years in existence, the Isaiah 117 House is expanding their mission to help children entering the foster care system to Greene County.
What started in Carter County as one home with one mission has quickly grown into something much more.
“For us to rally around those children and remind them, you’re not alone and we are going to walk this with you and we are going to help you, because you are loved,” says founder of the Isaiah 117 House, Ronda Paulson.
The house serves as a safe haven for children who have been removed from their families, awaiting placement in foster homes.
Paulson says these children are often forgotten and fall victim to an overcrowded system.
“It is so key for them to start their foster care journey understanding that it is not their fault,” Paulson says.
Children who are waiting to enter foster homes often times have to wait it out with the Department of Children’s Services, some having to stay there overnight.
“You’ve got this traumatized child hanging out in a cubicle or a conference room, on top of that you’ve got case workers who need to do a mountain of paperwork and care for the child. It just can’t be done, it can’t be done well,” says Paulson.
The Isaiah 117 House in Carter County is a first of its kind in the Tri-Cities. So far, 130 children have come through the red door of that home.
“You watch them take a breath. And when it’s time to go they say, ‘I don’t wanna leave.’ The atmosphere truly calms the child in what’s a really hard time,” says Paulson.
A need met in Carter county is one still left to meet across the state. Paulson’s mission for the Isaiah 117 House does not stop there.
“Just our little neck of the woods there are over 800 children who need placement, who need a foster family,” says Paulson.
That’s why they decided to expand, breaking ground on a new home in Greene County the morning of July 16, at 9:30.
The new home in Greeneville, evident of the need for this type work.
“The need is so great and it’s not just great in Carter, it’s not just great in Greene, it’s great across the state and it’s great across the nation,” says Paulson.
There are currently plans in the works to open homes in counties across Tennessee. Right now those include Sullivan, Washington, Blount, Rutherford, Cocke, Grundy, Knox and Davidson counties.
Paulson also is working on a wild card location, all the way in Evansville, Indiana because, “God is funny,” she says.
The home in Washington County will hopefully open on September 17 of this year, the home in Sullivan in the spring of 2020.
“I just feel this storm brewing. I feel that change is coming. It started out with a dream of, what if there is a home? And it has quickly become what if we could change the system,” says Paulson.
Isaiah 1:17 reads, “Defend the cause of the fatherless.” Paulson believes this is God’s call for their ministry.