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"One Church, One Child" helps place African American children in foster homes

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LAWTON, Okla_A local minority adoption recruitment program said young African American children are lingering in the foster care system. The "One Church, One Child" organization of Lawton said they're in need of more African American foster and adoptive families to help curb this trend. They say the key to linking needy children with loving families is to raise awareness about this heart wrenching issue.

The organization's local recruiter said their plan is outlined in their name: one church one child. This organization targets churches as a tool, for raising awareness about the need for African American adoptive and foster families. Last year, out of 100 children in state custody in Comanche County, about a third were African American and some of them have still not been placed.

Pastor Charles Ellington said churches are a vital recruiting tool for finding African American families for African American children.

"We can go into the church community because most of the families are in a particular church in the sanctuary, mom, dad, the children."

He said many in the African American church community in Lawton were unaware of the rising need for adoptive and foster families.

"Some say ‘well, I had no idea about these children,' because when they think about their own home, they don't think about the needs of children that don't have a home. That's why this program is so important."

Ellington said that is slowly changing. He said his group gives presentations about why they're trying to place African American children in African American homes.

"When we deal with languages, culture, religion, these children have some type of base to follow when they go into a home. So, they'll be able to relate better quicker with an African American family, with same norms, beliefs and values."

He said the group now reaches out to more than just churches to raise awareness.

"We contact these pastors in the community and civic leaders, city councilmen, school officials, people in leadership positions that involve children."

Pastor Ellington said the work may be hard, but the success stories like a recent foster mother that adopted two children make it worth it.

"Knowing that these kids have connected with her, knowing that she has connected with them, they know her she knows them, and then she decided to adopt these kids"

Pastor Ellington said another challenge is finding families to adopt groups of siblings and teenagers, especially boys. He said the group is planning a luncheon later this month to spread awareness about their cause.

If you would like to learn more information, you can go to OneChurchOneChildOKLA.org or call 580-248-3228.

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