American Adoption Program Honors
Adoptive & Foster Parents of the Year
August 16, 2000 -- The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’
One Church One Child minority adoption program honored this year’s Adoptive
and Foster Parents of the Year at their August board meeting, on August
16, 2000 at New Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church at 413 W. John
Gwyn Ave in Peoria.
and Jenelle Alexander began their relationship with the Department of
Children and Family Services (DCFS) in 1997 while caring for three biological
children and one adoptive special needs child. They became foster parents
of a sibling group of two with many challenges and adopted them eight
and Demetria Banks provided foster care to several Illinois children over
a period of five years prior to adopting. They have worked diligently
with private agencies, providing excellent care to children who would
possibly be returned to their homes.
Johnson has been a licensed foster parent for four years. Her motivation
is to let children know that there is someone else out there – in the
form of a foster parent – who can be both caring and understanding, and
be a part of the process of returning a child back home to his or her
parents when the family is no longer in crisis.
of these Peoria families was selected for their willingness to open their
homes," said Rev. Cleveland Thomas, Pastor of New Morning Star Missionary
Baptist Church. "They demonstrated that extra level of dedication,
love and willingness to accept the challenge of becoming adoptive or foster
parents to children in need of loving, stable homes."
One Church One Child minority adoption program is a unique church/state
partnership that challenges primarily African-American churches to recruit
at least one family from each congregation to adopt a child. Founded in
Chicago in 1980, the nationally recognized One Church One Child program
has become a model for similar partnerships in over 1,000 churches in
32 states. Approximately 100,000 children have been adopted through this
structure is very important to waiting children,"said Rev. Thomas.
“Waiting children are of all ages and backgrounds, however, special emphasis
is placed on older children, special needs children and sibling groups.”
number of adoptions of DCFS wards tripled in Illinois over the last three
fiscal years, from 2,229 in FY97 to 7,315 in FY99. These increases can
be attributed to collaborations between DCFS and the private sector, like
the One Church One Child program, as well as the legislature, private
providers of foster care services and the court system. Financial and
technical adoption assistance may be available both before and after a
child in DCFS care is adopted. Contact the Adoption Information Center
of Illinois at 800 572-2390 for more information. If you are interested
in becoming a licensed foster parent call 800 624-KIDS.
Further Information Contact: Communications Tel: 312-814-6847