NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has gotten negative attention lately.
The most startling detail — foster children reportedly sleeping on office floors. Now, a local church and nonprofit organization are working to prevent that from ever happening again.
“I know that Davidson County is having some difficulty placing kids quickly. I think this would reduce some of the trauma that a child would experience,” said Beth Kasch, Middle TN Regional Coordinator for Isaiah 117 House.
Starting a new “Safe House” in Nashville is how Isaiah 117 House hopes to reduce the trauma many children experience in foster care.
Kasch said it all started with the Church of the City in downtown Nashville.
“They have helped raise the money and have purchased a house that they are deeding over to Isaiah 177 House,” Kasch said.
The nonprofit will begin renovating the Safe House next month, near the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
“We have a place where these kiddos can go to bed and sort of experience some normalization, a normal routine, and then the next morning DCS will take them to a foster home,” Kasch said.
Once the house is renovated, there will be two bedrooms, one for boys and one for girls, and each room can hold up to four kids.
“It’s just colorful, child friendly and we staff it with volunteers who will just lavishly love these kiddos. DCS workers will come with their cases and they will work out of the house. They will supervise the kids who are there,” Kasch said.
Kasch said DCS caseworkers will be able to work out of the house and stay overnight to supervise the children on shifts.
“An Isaiah 177 House would be a much preferable environment for both the DCS worker and the child. And possibly a nicer place for a foster parent to come and get to know the child when the child is placed,” Kasch said.
In a statement, DCS Commissioner Margie Quin told News 2:
“The faith-based community has truly stepped up to answer the call. We have 25 partnerships throughout the state, [like] Church of the City and Isaiah 117 House, which have allowed us to ensure children are no longer sleeping in office buildings in Middle Tennessee.”
Isaiah 117 House hopes to do more work in Davidson County in the future, as the need to help DCS and foster children is never-ending.
The nonprofit expects the Safe House to be finished and ready to open by the end of the summer or early fall.
In the meantime, the Church of the City – Downtown will be providing a warm meal every Sunday night for these children and the DCS workers staying with them.