The fates of children who have been removed from their homes over concerns for their welfare, as well as services available for those battling substance abuse were topics discussed during a recent …
The fates of children who have been removed from their homes over concerns for their welfare, as well as services available for those battling substance abuse were topics discussed during a recent monthly luncheon of the Bradley County Bar Association.
The gathering was held at The Press in downtown Cleveland.
Bradley County Public Defender’s Office investigator Ken Ritenour said a new organization is coming to Cleveland that will provide services to area children who have been removed from their homes by the Department of Children’s Services.
The organization, Isaiah 117, provides a safe place for children as they await placement with a foster families.
Ritenour said children who are removed from their homes must wait at the DCS office while waiting placement with a foster family.
He said DCS facilities are not equipped to provide for the needs of children, who may be hungry or in need of hygienic care. Sometimes, staffing may be inadequate if such a removals occurs late at night. As a result, the children are frightened, hungry and are sometimes clad in dirty clothing.
“They feel all alone,” Ritenour said. “They feel like they are being punished.”
Ritnour said Isaiah 177 provides a safe, temporary place for children to stay until a foster family is assigned.
He said children that are taken to DCS facilities have to stay overnight in a cubicle. However, at Isaiah 117, they will receive meals, as well as clean beds for overnight stays.
The children are accompanied by a DCS worker while staying at an Isaiah 117 house.
Located inside a house, the organization attempts to recreate a familiar home-like setting that is staffed with a full-time employee, as well as state-certified volunteers who can assist the childrens' needs.
Ritenour said the organization hopes to acquire a house in Cleveland within the next several weeks.
“It is something that is really needed,” Ritenour said. “It will be able to help children in Bradley and Polk County.
Currently, there is an Isaiah facility located in Washington County.
The organization relies on donations to fund its operations and will be receiving support from the United Way of the Ocoee Region.
Brenda Thomas, founder and director of Restoration Counseling in Athens, also spoke during the luncheon.
Thomas’ organization provides services such as family counseling, addiction counseling, trauma resolution, anger management counseling, veterans assistance, as well as drug testing.
The organization was founded in 2000.
Most insurance plans are accepted. In addition, Restoration Counseling also provides income-based fee services.
Soon, Thomas said her organization will be offering DUI School services, with 12-hour education programs for first-time DUI offenders and 20-hour programs for repeat offenders.
Classes are also available for those charged with drug possession, underage possession of drugs and alcohol, as well as other drug offenses.
“We have a team that can help people make better choices,” Thomas said.
Restore DUI School does not process insurance claims and cash payments are the only accepted form of payment.
The 12-hour class costs $125, with the 12-hour PLUS alcohol class costing $175. The book required for the courses costs $20.
For more information regarding services provided Isaiah 117, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information regarding services provided by Restore DUI School, contact Brenda Thomas at 423-829-5017.
Restoration Counseling may be contacted by calling 423-507-8826 or by visiting restorationcounselingofathens.com.
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