Cap the Gap helps provide for needs of local children in foster care

Published 8:53 pm Friday, July 7, 2017

According to the Child Welfare League of America, in 2013, 8,180 children in Tennessee were living apart from their families in out-of-home care, compared to 6,723 children in 2009.

Without organizations like Cap the Gap of Elizabethton, many children in Carter, Johnson and Unicoi counties would go without clothes, shoes, hygiene supplies, food, or school supplies.

President of Cap the Gap Joni Cannon started the organization in 2013 to serve the children involved with the Department of Children’s Services in Elizabethton.

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“We provide things for children who are being removed from a home due to concerns for the safety and well-being of the child,” Cannon said. “Whatever the need is, we try to fulfill it.”

Among a child’s basic necessities, Cap the Gap also has special programs such as the Christmas program, where sponsors provide gifts for the children. Each child also receives a birthday card with a gift. The children are also provided with “comfort quilts” that are made by quilting groups and tote bags made from a friend of the organization in Mountain City.

“All families want to give their children everything possible — and that is true of foster families,” Cannon continued. “However, it is sometimes difficult for foster parents to afford those ‘extras’ on the stipend that the state provides. That’s where we come in.”

Cap the Gap is also in the workings of developing the Isaiah 117 House — a place for children to play, shower and sleep while awaiting their foster placement. Presently, the only place the children have is a small office space belonging to a social worker or a conference room.

Ronda Paulson, President of Isaiah 117 House, has high hopes for the organization.

“This is my dream for the Isaiah 117 House,” Paulson said. “Isaiah 1:17 says, ‘defend the cause of the fatherless.’ I believe that is what God is calling me to do. I see a home with a girl’s bedroom, a boy’s bedroom, a fully stocked bathroom, playroom, nursery, etc. I see a team of volunteers, two at a time, on call to greet ‘the least of these’ when they need love most.”

As Cap the Gap and Isaiah 117 House continue to grow, the donations of time, money, and volunteers will only grow.

“[We] could not exist without the support of individuals, community partners, civic clubs, church groups and all those who have helped us fulfill our mission,” said Cannon. “It isn’t what Cap the Gap does, or Isaiah 117 House will do — it’s what our community helps us do to help foster children. If we can make a difference in a child’s life during this critical time, we will have succeeded.”

For more information on Cap the Gap or to find out how you can be involved, contact Joni Cannon at 423-767-6355 or by e-mail to