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LCSAP project demonstrates
grace in action

by David Morgan, Lawrence County Executive

What does it mean to extend grace to another person? Showing grace to others means we treat them with kindness, often in ways they don’t expect. We look for needs and opportunities to help, taking action when and wherever we can. A project undertaken by the Lawrence County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (LCSAP) is a wonderful example of grace in action. Appropriately named Grace House, its purpose is to help children who are entering foster care, their DCS caseworkers, and foster families. “We want to take care of everybody,” said Nicole Miller, the LCSAP Drug-Endangered Children Program Coordinator who is the driving force behind Grace House.

In her work with DCS, she learned that children who are removed from their homes sometimes don’t have immediate placement. They end up spending one or more nights on air mattresses at the DCS office, where there are no home-like comforts. Two caseworkers must stay with these children at all times. And foster families aren’t always prepared for kids who arrive with only the clothes on their backs.

Grace House is a place with warm beds and hot showers, clean clothes and good food. A few children have stayed overnight so far; others have arrived to simply bathe and receive some clothing before going to their foster homes.

“Some of them have never owned a pair of pajamas,” Nicole said. Children leave Grace House with brand-new p.j.s, underwear, clothing, toiletries, and a backpack. Foster families – and biological families who are reuniting – can get food and cleaning supplies there as well. Grace House is a true work of community. Students enrolled in TCAT programs at our high schools built a sliding barn door, wired and mounted a television, and did other electrical and carpentry work. Members of local FCE (Family & Community Education) Clubs have donated home-canned goods for the pantry. Dozens more individuals, clubs, businesses and churches have pitched in to help.

The need will continue. Lawrence County has the 11th highest percentage of children in foster care in our state, and we are number one in our 13-county region. Magistrate Ashley Dunkin, who sees many foster cases come through her courtroom, has been an instrumental part of the Grace House project, Nicole said.

A wish list of needed items is provided at the end of this article, and volunteers are appreciated as well. They can cook a meal, wash clothes, and even stay a few hours with a child in the place of one caseworker, following a background check and DCS training. Email Nicole at nmiller@lawcotn.gov for more information.

In the future, Nicole hopes to see Grace House become its own nonprofit, and move to larger quarters that can accommodate more kids. By extending grace to these children, she said, we can help them emerge stronger and better able to avoid the issues their parents face.

The Grace House Wish List
All new items, please

Queen Size Bedding
Hooded Baby Towels
Bottle Bushes
Dryer Sheets
Kitchen Soap
Cleaning Supplies
Paper Plates
Plastic Cutlery
Non-Perishable Food Items
Small Stuffed Toys
Study Bibles
Diaper Rash Cream
Toilet Paper
Paper Towels
Board Games
Small Pillows
Please take donations to LCSAP offices, 202 Deller Street, Lawrenceburg.
David Morgan

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