number of Black children who need foster or adoptive parents is increasing
faster than the number of families who are willing to adopt can be enrolled
in the state’s system. In Cook County, 93% of all children available
for adoption are Black.
we have more than exceeded our goal for getting applicants registered,
the fact remains that more Black children need homes than can be provided
at this time,” said Bishop Harold Dawson, advisory board president
of the 20-year old One Church Once Child (OCOC) program.
one remedy that OCOC is seeking would mean getting involved in the process
earlier –when a family crisis first arises, and before children are
removed from their home and families.
we can be much more effective, and help prevent so many children from
the system if the scope of OCOC is expanded to include empowering our
liaisons to provide the kind of intervention, counseling and support services
that families need –before a crisis occurs,” Dawson added.
founded in 1980 by Father George Clements. Clements became the nation’s
first priest to adopt a child (1981). He subsequently adopted three additional
children. Since that time, more than 60,000 Black and biracial children
have been adopted. Clements’ life work has been documented in
an award-winning film that was produced and broadcast by NBC called The
Father Clements Story. Clements is slated to be the guest speaker on Wednesday,
June 27 at 9:00 a.m. during the organization’s breakfast meeting
at Liberty Baptist Church and will participate in an 11:00 news conference
following the breakfast.
the news conference, awards will be presented to two adoptive parents
whose work and contributions have been outstanding. Shirley Johnson has
become a foster parent to two siblings who were born cocaine positive;
and Beverly Harvey, a single mother with two children, and a full-time
nurse, adopted five children.
a decade, the OCOC program has worked tirelessly throughout Illinois in
a statewide movement to work with the church and the community-at-large
encouraging a commitment to the adoption and foster care process. Under
Dawson, OCOC has worked closely with clergy throughout the state to identify
at least one family in every church that is willing to adopt or become
a foster parent of at least one child.
need for prevention, Statewide Coordinator Addie Hudson said, “We
can no longer afford for our children to wait while adults deliberate,
procrastinate and debate
their future. Earlier intervention and expanded roles for our liaisons,
as well as increasing our partnerships and networking potential, is critical.”
of this year’s conference, “The State of the Black Family in
the New Millennium,” include recognition of ministers and churches
that have made outstanding contributions to the program. Reverend James
Meeks of Salem Baptist Church and Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit
Full Gospel Baptist Church are among the honorees. Presentations to the
clergy will take place at Liberty Church, 4849 South King Drive on Tuesday,
June 26th from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
in becoming a foster parent or adopting a child can call 1.877.490.8648
or visit the OCOC www.ococil.org.