Seeing a need, filling that void

Johnson City Press • Sep 10, 2019 at 8:00 AM

More than 690,000.

That’s how many U.S. children spent at least part of the year in foster care, according to 2017 estimates issued from the Children’s Bureau of the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

The bureau’s annual census taken Sept. 30, 2017, showed more than 440,000 kids were in foster care at the time — up from about 400,000 in 2012.

The average age of those children was 8.4 years old. Some 206,000 — nearly half — were age 6 or younger.

Most of us can’t begin to put ourselves in their shoes. It’s why all of us should be appreciative of the foster families who give of themselves to invite children into their homes and lives.

For the thousands of new children entering care each year, the transition must be overwhelming. Placement is not always easy to find or immediate. Kids can spend hours or even a full day waiting.

Washington County will soon have a new way to ease that transition in the form of Isaiah 117 House. Rather than sit in the Department of Children’s Services office, children will be able to stay temporarily in the house.

Such a facility already operates in Carter County, which served 131 kids last year. Plans are in place to expand in other communities. Washington County’s location is expected to open a week from today.

As Press Staff Writer Jonathan Roberts reported in Sunday’s edition, the 1,600-square-foot house will feature a fully stocked kitchen and pantry, as well as a basement full of clothes and school supplies for children to take, as they often don’t have any of their belongings with them when they’re removed from the home.

You can help make life a little better for those kids in transition.

Like all nonprofit organizations, Isaiah 117 House relies on community support to provide such care. For more information about Isaiah 117 House or to donate, visit the organization’s website at www.isaiah117house.com.

To learn more about foster care in Tennessee, visit www.tn.gov/dcs/program-areas/foster-care-and-adoption.html.

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