Carter County family starting home for kids waiting for foster care placement

CARTER COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- While becoming a foster parent, Ronda Paulson said she got an eye-opening look at what the journey from home looks like for these kids.

“I felt heartbroken for these children that have not done anything to deserve this,” Paulson said.

Paulson said she realized that sometimes after being taken in to state custody and waiting for a foster home placement, kids have to spend hours or sometimes stay overnight at the Department of Children’s Services office, because there’s no where else for them to go.

“These children that are scared and alone and they left the only home they’ve ever known and they’ve left the only family they’ve ever known…sleeping alone in a conference room surrounded by adults they do not know who have a lot of work to get done,” Paulson said.

Sometimes the kids can’t bring anything with them because of the home they came from. Sometimes they need food, a bath, or new clothes.

“They long to know that they’re safe and secure and there’s something they can hold onto that’s theirs,” Paulson said with tears in her eyes.

That need sparked a dream in Paulson.

“What if we could start there, what if we could give them a bath, clean pajamas and then here’s a new friend and it’s your stuffed animal and you take it with you everywhere you go,” Paulson said.

A foster mom to two kids, she knows the value of giving them things to call theirs and a place to be welcomed after leaving everything they’ve ever known.

“Isaiah 1:17 says defend the cause of the fatherless and so that scripture was laid on my husband and my heart and so that became the name Isaiah 117 house,” Paulson said.

The idea of the Isaiah 117 house is when kids are removed from their home and taken in to state custody, instead of being taken to the DCS office, they’d be taken to a house where their immediate needs could be met while waiting on a placement in to a foster family.

“To see this kind of a dream happen is it just makes my heart swell and makes me so excited to be a part of it, ” Joni Cannon with Cap the Gap of Carter, Unicoi, and Johnson counties said.

Cap the Gap is an organization that helps provide food, clothing, and anything kids transitioning in to the foster system might physically need.

“They can let their foster care worker their social care worker know what the child might need and we can make it happen,” Cannon said.

Cap the Gap will partner with the Isaiah 117 house in providing for the kids who come there.

Right now, Paulson and her team are trying to raise $75,000 to buy the house, then they will need help from the community to get the house ready, and finally they will need volunteers to staff the house.

For more information on how you can get involved and help make this happen you can visit

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