One Church-One Child earns praise
By Kathy Chaffin
Rowan County’s One Church-One Child support ministry was among eight programs recognized at the National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs’ annual conference held July 9-11.
“Rowan County has stepped out and is beginning to stand out in terms of programs that promote adoption and awareness,” said Tom Brewer, children’s services program administrator for the Rowan County Department of Social Services at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
He introduced Jon Hunter, foster care and adoption recruiter and trainer, and Beverly Mobley, program coordinator of Rowan for Kids, both of whom represented the department at the Richmond, Va. conference.
Hunter passed around the plaque presented to the program for board members to see. He was part of a panel for a workshop on Best Practices in Recruitment and Services, and information about the Rowan One Church-One Child ministry was included in a compilation of “Best Practices” distributed at the conference.
“I think they were all impressed with what we have done and how we have made this program unique to Rowan County,” he said.
Adoption advocacy programs from 36 states were represented at the conference.
The Rowan One Church-One Child program offers placement support to foster parents or relatives who care for foster children in the county. Hunter said 28 churches participate in the program, providing families with food, clothing, furniture and such additional items as bicycles and school supplies.
“We sent kids to camp this summer,” he said. “We’ve helped provide birthday parties for teenagers in our independent living program.
“We paid rent for a family so they could afford to stay in their home and adopt one of our children. It was a relative’s child.”
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans even gave an end-of-school party for the children, he said, and last year, “every child that we serve got a Christmas gift from the churches that participate in the program.”
Hunter expressed his appreciation to the member churches “for their time and work and dedication.”
This is the fourth national conference he has attended on a scholarship funded through a federal grant and the first for Mobley. “The conference was very uplifting for me on a personal as well as a professional level,” he said.
Hunter ó who has helped implement One Church-One Child programs in six other counties in North Carolina ó said the Rowan program has received 169 donations since it began and that Social Services Director Sandra Wilkes had sent a personal thank you note to each contributor.
Board Chairman Nilous Avery thanked the staff involved in the program. “You really work diligently,” he said, “and you continue to have an impact.”
Vice Chairman Carl Ford echoed his congratulations. “I think it’s a great program, too,” he said. “Keep going.”