Ronda Paulson of Elizabethton, TN, began Isaiah 117 House in her community in 2017. By the spring of 2020, more than 25 states in the U.S. and two countries had contacted her to duplicate her vision in their own community.
The goal of Isaiah 117 House is threefold: love the kids on the path to a foster family, support case workers in their endeavor to place children in a safe home, and support foster family with supplies and assistance as needed.
Plans are currently in the works to expand Isaiah 117 House throughout Indiana, including Boone, Knox, Spencer-Perry and Tippecanoe counties. On the west side of Marion County, a Isaiah 117 home is being renovated. Because of the large population of Marion County, and the urgent need for foster resources, it’s estimated that Marion County will eventually have up to four Isaiah 117 homes. One home in Vanderburgh, Indiana, is complete and currently operating. The other homes are in various stages of raising funds, spreading awareness and renovating or building. Most Indiana Isaiah 117 Homes are set to officially open by the beginning of 2022.
How the Program Works
Here’s how Isaiah 117 House works:
When a child is removed from their home by the Department of Child Services, a case worker will contact an area Isaiah 117 House and let them know they’ll be arriving with the child in one hour. A coordinator with Isaiah 117 will then contact a group of volunteers to meet them at the home. With the help of the case worker, the volunteers meet the needs of the child in that moment.
Maybe the child needs a shower and a clean set of clothes. Maybe they want to be alone and take a nap in one of the fully furnished bedrooms. Maybe they want to play outside on the jungle gym for a while. Volunteers will run out to get any food requested by the child or case worker.
Each child leaves the Isaiah 117 House with a brand-new set of clothes, including shoes. They also receive a new duffle bag with new toiletries, school supplies and more.
Paulson has said the goal of the program is to lavishly love on the kids for the hours they are at Isaiah 117. She wants each child to walk out of the house and into their foster home clean, with dignity and with new items that belong to them.
Foster families can also lean on Isaiah 117 House for supplies during the first two weeks of fostering a new child. Sometimes a bed, school supplies or food is needed for a short time as the family adjusts.
Visit isaiah117house.com for more information, or to see how you can get involved.