Advisory Board to look at supporting foster parents

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

As the state looks at delving into the issue of lack-of foster parents, Carter County Community Advisory Board members are looking at joining the campaign to help out.
CAB officials joined together Thursday afternoon and received an update about the status of foster initiatives within the community.
Josh McKinney, CAB chairman, told members that he’s visited other CAB groups across the state. During the meetings, McKinney added that one item that was regularly discussed was assisting with fosters.
During the discussion, McKinney added he would gauge the interest of members about seeing what they could do to assist with foster parents’ support.
Erin Culbertson, CAB member with the Department of Children’s Services, added that there is a need across the state to assist families that are taking in foster children and that the number has spiked recently for children going into foster care.
The issue of children’s services was also brought up during the April CAB meeting when representatives from DCS provided an update on their caseload. In April, Bryon Smith stated that his office has seven employees and sees roughly 90 cases a month for CPS assessment. CPS investigations often times see 33 cases with a staff of just three employees.
As numbers of children entering foster care grow, Culbertson added there are times when children will stay in the office with a worker as they await placement.
One local initiative going on that will assist the issue, Culbertson said, is the Isaiah 117 House spearheaded by Ronda and Corey Paulson.
The Paulsons, a foster family, are currently in the process of obtaining funds to secure a property to house children that are going through DCS to await family placement.
Donations for the Isaiah 117 House, which will serve Carter, Johnson and Unicoi counties, are being accepted daily and individuals can visit their Facebook page online to learn more about the program.
In other business, CAB vice-chair Jilian Reece added the community garden programs have been a success this year with 14-15 families still part of the Build-It-Up program. Reece added Build-It-Up has two classes remaining for the year and CAB would look at the possibility of being part of the program again next year. Kelly Kitchens, with Elizabethton Parks and Recreation, added the plan for a memorial garden honoring the late daughter of Lowe’s manager Shane Case will be presented at the next Parks & Rec Board meeting. The idea is to have a memorial garden placed on the Linear Trail, behind Lowe’s, to remember Case’s daughter. The goal of the garden was a way to honor her life and thank Case for his service to the community. Lowe’s has been on the forefront assisting with community gardens by providing free plants.

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