Image Credit: Isaiah 117 House / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
One nonprofit organization is helping to provide temporary housing for children placed in custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services as foster homes are located for placement.
Several Middle Tennessee areas have already seen results from Isaiah 117 Safe Houses that are open in Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, and Rutherford counties. Homes in Davidson and Robertson are in the process of being opened as well.
The Coffee-Franklin-Grundy County home, opened in August 2022, was the first to welcome children in Middle Tennessee. The Rutherford County home opened in Murfreesboro in April and has helped 35 children since that opening.
The organization is hopeful that the Nashville home will be open for children by December. Demolition has been started on that location.
Allee Dauenhauer, co-program coordinator for the Isaiah 117 House in Rutherford County, stated, “Instead of waiting in a government office, they’re now waiting in safe, comfortable homes that have been built and designed for them, to tell them that they are not alone, that they’ve done nothing wrong, that they’re loved.”
Beth Kasch is the Regional Coordinator for Isaiah 117 House in Middle and West Tennessee. She talked with News 2 about the home to be opened in Springfield in Robertson County.
“Our goal is to have it open to cut the red ribbon at the end of August so we can immediately start serving children from our Robertson County,” Kasch said.
Misty Romero, Program Coordinator for Robertson County, stated, “We know that the need is there and that the minute our doors open, we’ll be serving children here.”
Isaiah 117 House has a motto of “Love, you’re not alone.” The group plans to add additional houses across the state as the need arises.
The organization says they currently have opened more homes in Middle Tennessee because that is the area that has shown the greatest need at the time. Their goal is to provide a place of safety and comfort when children must be removed from situations involving abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
According to DCS, there was an average of 68 children waiting for foster families last month, amounting to less than 1% of the total number of children being served by the Department.
“There are currently 8,394 children in Foster Care across the state. Without a robust foster care network to choose from, it makes it more selective. This is why Isaiah 117 has been such a phenomenal partner. We can have the children sit with their case manager for up to 72 hours as we attempt to find a placement for that child,” said Alex Denis, DCS executive director of communications and external affairs.
The goal of Isaiah 117 House is to eventually have a Safe House available in every county in Tennessee.