Title: National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs - One Church, One Child
Award #: 90CO0998
Cluster: Developing a National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs
Grantee: Virginia One Church, One Child
Contact: Rev. Wilbert D. Talley; 804.754.3140; email@example.com
Project Website: http://www.nationalococ.org/
Last Update: March 2009
The Virginia One Church, One Child (OCOC) adoption advocacy program was funded by the Children's Bureau in 2003 to establish the National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs (NNAAP) as a way to recruit families to adopt African-American and other children. The goal for the NNAAP was to increase the number of States using the OCOC model, placing particular emphasis on States that have disproportionate numbers of African-American, Hispanic, or other minority children in waiting.
The OCOC mission is for every participating church to find one family to adopt one child from foster care, and the OCOC model outlines how churches can recruit, train, and support adoptive families. The model also outlines how church congregations can provide postadoption support in a way similar to a traditional African-American extended family.
The first year of the NNAAP was devoted to building a network and ensuring a strong program base for evaluation and program design. Over the following years, the NNAAP helped jurisdictions build programs on the OCOC model by providing conferences, speakers, technical assistance, peer-to-peer technical support, resources, and training. The program also administered mini-grants to help OCOC-modeled organizations build firm foundations.
Much of the success of the program is attributed to the relationships that were built between churches and child welfare agencies. The OCOC model helped pave the way for these relationships so that churches and agencies could coordinate their work and support each other. For example, the Virginia OCOC has a Department of Social Services staff person in the OCOC office, and the OCOC engages participating churches in all aspects of child welfare, from prevention to permanency.
Another crucial element for OCOC program success is the endorsement and support of pastors and church leaders. OCOC staff find ways to support and engage the pastors by getting to know them, helping them with fundraisers and other projects, and asking pastors they know to introduce them to new clergy. One program sponsors Clergy in Court for Kids by taking local clergy to Family Court 1 day a week so that the pastors hear what is happening to children in their community. This has proven to be an eye opener for many clergy and has helped the OCOC staff with garnering church support for their program.
Another important component of the OCOC model is the church coordinator. Each participating church identifies a coordinator who commits to being the liaison between the church and the OCOC program. In some cases, the person is an adoptive parent. The coordinator's responsibilities include making presentations at the church, setting up OCOC displays, attending workshops, and speaking about the program at other churches. OCOC provides training on the child welfare system and also provides items such as presentation materials.
Anecdotal evidence to date supports the success of this program. A program evaluator recently published a report on the best practices of the OCOC model programs, noting the following core services:
- Partnership between faith community and public agencies
- Recruitment for resource families within the faith community
- Education with increased awareness for the faith community and the public about adoption
- Advocacy for adoption in the faith community
More information about the NNAAP and OCOC model can be found on the network's website, including information about its steering and advisory committee members, mini-grants, and additional resources: www.nnaap-ococ.org
The best practices report is available on this website at http://www.nnaap-ococ.org/documents/OCOCBestPractices.pdf
Reprinted from Children's Bureau Express, "Site Visit: National Network Promotes Faith-Based Adoption Efforts" (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/).
(adapted from the project's grant application)
The National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs is exploring the One Church, One Child (OCOC) model for recruiting families to adopt African-American children. Practitioners from One Church, One Child; OCOC-modeled organizations; and national
adoption organizations are collaborating on this 5-year project. The first year is devoted to building a network and ensuring a strong program base for evaluation and program design. Evidence-based adoption recruitment strategies are being gathered from existing OCOC-modeled organizations to formulate "best practice" program models, disseminate information, and reach out to interested agencies and organizations. The goal is to increase the number of States using the OCOC model to 32, with emphasis on States that have disproportionate numbers of African-American, Hispanic, or other minority children in waiting. Mini-grants will be available to help these organizations build firm foundations. Innovative concepts, such as peer-to-peer technical assistance will be used, and practitioners will be trained in evaluation and evidenced-based practices. Network membership in 5 years will be expanded to at least 75 organizations. Organizational capacity will then be built to increase stability, self-sufficiency, and to reduce the numbers of special needs children in foster care, as well as reducing the length of time to successful placement.
The site visitor attended the National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs (NNAAP) National Conference in Richmond, VA, July 9-11, 2008. He met with the following people
- Veronica Black, Children Awaiting Parents, Rochester, NY
- Cassandra Calendar-Ray, One Church, One Child, Virginia
- Diane Dixon-Proctor, One Church, One Child, Maryland
- Rev. John Hunter, Methodist Minister and Placement Support Coordinator, Rowan County Social Services Department, Salisbury, NC
- Vanessa McKendall Stephens, Ph.D., Project Evaluator
- Beverly Mobley, Board Member and Recruiter
- Rev. Robert Stephens, African American Adoption Agency, St. Paul, MN
- Jane Talley, Family Consultant
- Rev. Wilbert D. Talley, NNAAP Project Director
- Dr. Hurtestine Wilkerson, One Church, One Child, Mississippi
The site visitor also heard presentations by the following people:
- Rev. Dr. Carolyn Graham, Founder, Elizabeth Ministry, Inc., former Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth, Families and Elders, Washington, DC
- Dr. Wade F. Horn, Director, Deloitte LLP, former Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Rev. John Hunter, Methodist Minister and Placement Support Coordinator, Rowan County Social Services, Salisbury, NC
- Stephanie R. Lang, Child Placement Coordinator, Dallas-Fort Worth One Church, One Child
- Rev. Michael E. Livingston, Executive Director, International Council of Community Churches
- Dr. Wintley Phipps, Founder, President, and CEO of U.S. Dream Academy, Inc.
- Bob Ruthazer, Executive Director, First Things First of Richmond
- Jane Talley, Family Consultant, Richmond, VA
- Rev. Wilbert D. Talley, NNAAP Project Director
Challenges | Successful Strategies and Keys to Success
- These programs are good at finding things churches can do that don't cost a lot of money, but they do need funds for travel to churches, advertising, recruiting, training, and clerical support. Unfortunately many are finding that adoption incentive funds are drying up.
- Finding resources for recruitment of foster and adoptive parents is a challenge. Engaging people requires talking to them in person and frequently, and it is a big country. Some programs divide the territory into regions, but their recruitment specialists still have to drive a lot to maintain relationships with church coordinators and to support their churches. Driving to all of these places costs more now than it used to and hotel costs have gone up too. One program shared that its State funding has not increased in 5 years. Programs see a need to make the connection between recruitment and retention and family support and permanency outcomes. Program staff face the challenge of ensuring that general and targeted recruitment are both seen as valuable. That general recruitment brings awareness, readies community and individuals to respond when they do child-specific recruitment.
- The biggest challenge for many programs is reaching the faith community and getting churches to participate. Getting through the church hierarchy can be challenging, especially in bigger churches.
- There are so many other types of ministries that churches can do, it can be challenging to nurture the partnership and keep One Church, One Child (OCOC) at the forefront. The major focus of some churches is production of worship, which makes volunteer recruitment difficult.
- It is sometimes difficult to get the ministers involved, especially younger and newer clergy. Some staff see a new attitude among some clergy, with more focus on growing the church and less interest in direct ministry and programs. Ten years ago, pastors were rooted in the civil rights movement, with a community focus. Now, some clergy don't understand why this community focus is important and why this has value.
- One program shared that before Talley came and provided technical assistance, its challenge was getting churches to commit. Their approach was to mail letters to churches with no clear expectations. Program staff have since changed their approach and are seeing much better results.
- On the other hand, for some of the more established OCOC programs that are blessed with a lot of volunteer churches, the challenge is keeping all these churches productively engaged.
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Successful Strategies and Keys to Success
- There is a sense that the whole church adopts a child. They see this as a return to the traditional African-American extended family. OCOC formalizes this commitment by assigning roles and rights and responsibilities, so adoptive parents aren't in it by themselves. This creates an extended family system, which reduces disruption. This is especially helpful for adoptive families with financial challenges.
- OCOC programs typically provide or coordinate postadoption services and placement support. OCOC supports a wraparound system for the foster/adoptive family and the biological family.
- OCOC organizes, sponsors, and promotes other activities that support families in need. At Thanksgiving, some churches collect a food offering. At Christmas, some churches provide gifts for children in families receiving in-home services, foster children, and other children in the child welfare system. One church has a prom dress closet and a business suit closet.
Working With Child Welfare Agencies
- There is recognition by most child welfare agencies that government agencies can't do it all, that children need loving parents, and no single agency can do this job alone. Government's ability to find permanent homes for the 500,000 children who are in foster care is limited, and many child welfare programs are in a transition towards faster permanency goals.
- OCOC has worked with child welfare agencies for many years, and staff see this collaboration as critical. The Virginia OCOC has a Department of Social Services staff person in its office. OCOC engages church in all aspects of child welfare, from prevention to permanency. OCOC staff create an awareness of the need to prevent children from entering the child welfare system, to provide help for children in foster care, and to provide adoption options and postadoption support. Some OCOC programs provide bulletin announcements for foster care month, and many churches celebrate foster month.
- OCOC programs typically recruit families in churches and in the community who are interested in the possibility of becoming foster parents and/or adopting children. After a family is recruited, programs usually refer them and forward family information to the child welfare agency. The Mississippi OCOC program refers families or individuals who desire to adopt a child to Mississippi Families for Kids. OCOC helps with follow-up by communicating with the family about status and next steps, so no one gets lost in the system. OCOC staff put a process and tracking system in place for sending information to the child welfare agency and receiving monthly reports. OCOC is committed to getting children adopted by the families they recruit.
- Some child welfare agencies help OCOC advertise interest meetings for prospective foster and adoptive parents in churches. In one State, the child welfare agency makes summer visits to contracted churches and talks about adoption and children in the foster care system. One OCOC program works with churches and the child welfare agency to develop a leap-of-faith calendar to promote adoption all year long.
- Some programs find it helpful to have a defining contract with their local child welfare agency. That way, once they are recruited, families will have a timely interview and interaction with the child welfare agency so they get into process while they are still motivated. Another program began its own child placement services because families said they were waiting too long.
- Relationships are critical to the success of the OCOC program. In all of their work with the faith-based community, OCOC staff nurture relationships and partnerships.
- They see that the endorsement and support of pastors and clergy leaders is needed for this program to work. OCOC representatives need to be invited and welcomed into churches. They find that getting pastors involved and engaging them in this work is often relational, based on who you know and who they know. Successful programs use staff or friends of the organization to influence ministers' willingness to participate. They have found that it is important to start out with the right mix in order to attract others.
- Partnerships need constant renewal. It is necessary to continue to build, maintain, and nurture relationships in the community with churches, child welfare agencies, and funders by visiting them, giving them updated information, and recognizing their contributions.
- The National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs (NNAAP) conference modeled this attention to relationships, with gracious, formal introductions of many participants and warm greetings from dozens of key partners.
Working With Churches
- OCOC programs empower churches to respond to the needs of children in the child welfare system. They develop an extended family support system in churches and empower everyone in the church to help in some way.
- While NNAAP's outreach is multicultural, to all denominations, and to the community at large, OCOC's focus has been on mobilizing the African-American church, recognizing its importance as a social capital resource.
- Churches provide financial support and people. Churches are asked to commit to supporting OCOC financially and recruiting members who will consider adoption. A key to working with churches is to only ask them for funds that go directly to families and children. One program asks each church to do one project a year, but some churches do five projects a year. Some churches donate furniture and clothing for children and families and funds for rental assistance. OCOC programs provide resources, and each church provides resource space.
- OCOC programs send information to churches in their community and preach and speak to groups. The message spreads by word of mouth. Staff members go into organizations and networks of churches and make presentations at their meetings. Outreach coordinators set up meetings with these groups. When the program puts out information about children who need families, people respond to the need. Churches host meetings. If one church hears that another church is participating, they want in too.
- Project staff find ways to support and engage the pastors by doing things to help them with fundraisers, giving back to them, taking them to lunch, getting the pastors they know to introduce them to those they don't know yet, asking what they can do for the pastors, and how they can help pastors succeed.
- One OCOC program director is regularly invited by churches to preach. He articulates the ministry to children and how the OCOC program carries that out. He and his staff provide mission moments and lead group meetings and activities. They give away handouts, pins, and CD holders to establish the brand and put the OCOC program name out in the community.
- Another program sponsors Clergy in Court for Kids. Every Monday is family court in this community. Child Protective Services' decisions are made and pastors hear what is happening to these children. Afterwards, program staff take the pastors to lunch at McDonalds and ask them to talk about what they heard. Pastors say they didn't know this was happening in this community and ask what they can do. They are advised to pray, lead by example, and ask their church to support the OCOC program.
- Each church is asked to identify one or more lay coordinators to be liaisons or intermediaries between their church and the OCOC program. Coordinators must have a passion for this work. The coordinators make sure OCOC messages stay in front of people, they update picture books, and set up OCOC displays at events. They also go to workshops and talk to other churches about the OCOC program. Some coordinators have adopted a child themselves. Coordinators are the lifeblood of the program, and they help prevent pastors who are committed from becoming overburdened.
- OCOC trains the church coordinators and supports their ongoing work. Training includes education on the child welfare system, practical information on how to implement specific projects, and tools (i.e., posters and sample presentations) they can use or adapt throughout the year for every occasion.
- Coordinators receive a lot of support. OCOC keeps them updated on what will be needed in coming months to support adoptive placements. Some programs have quarterly coordinator meetings, which include a light meal. In order to accommodate everyone's schedules, one program has two meetings per quarter, one at noon and one in evening.
- OCOC believes that all major faith traditions support and promote families as a God-given means for protecting and nurturing children. OCOC staff see their mission as helping churches empower families to fulfill their role. For them, OCOC is not just a social program; it is a mode of evangelism, a calling. They believe all parents have to learn by doing, that this comes from within the human heart and that faith in God is the key.
- OCOC staff see adoption and family support as bipartisan children's issues. The faith community can do a lot when it partners with government. The faith community can talk about moral obligations and it has resources and connections.
- Virtually everyone the site visitor talked with expressed thanks to NNAAP and credited their leadership, training and technical assistance, mini-grants, and support for the success of their local programs. Many of these programs started out by contacting the national office for guidelines, information on how to start and keep going and data on the number of children available for adoption. One community had a similar program called Faith and Children. They didn't know they could use the name OCOC. NNAAP helps programs improve their capacity, accountability, and performance. NNAAP staff tell OCOC programs that they are here to help you be excellent. They thank programs for their passion and remind them that they also need to get organized and work hard to help children find positive permanency. NNAAP has helped OCOC program staff hone their presentation and program development skills and improve their proposal writing. Good conferences with support for travel costs have provided many OCOC programs with fresh ideas, mutual support, and energy. Staff from one program went to an OCOC conference in Minnesota, listened, asked questions, and said, "We can do this." Another program requested and received Publisher software to improve their quarterly newsletter.
- NNAAP arranges peer-to-peer technical assistance and support. Programs have found this to be very helpful. Board members, program directors, and recruiters spend time together with their peers, learning from one another. They find that having a national organization helps them connect. In one peer-to-peer exchange, pastors from Reno, NV, came to North Carolina and met with OCOC program staff, board members, pastors, and churches. Another program director found it very valuable to make a peer-to-peer trip to Dallas, TX. Dallas rolled out the red carpet, shared a lot, and helped him develop a plan and address issues. After the visit, there were telephone calls and continued support.
- Over and over again the visitor heard that NNAAP director Rev. Talley was the key to making everything work. People said that he has the necessary skills, expertise, and knowledge. More importantly, he has the right spirit to bring people together. They said that Rev. Talley comes and talks with them, is very supportive, keeps in contact, provides guidance, and shows them how to recruit and retain families. He travels to communities to speak at special events, do training, and help them get OCOC programs started. He shows them how to engage churches by sending letters, making phone calls, using a clear format, making it clear what's expected, and what they are being asked to commit to. One new program had heard of other OCOC organizations. When they asked who helped them get started, it was Rev. Talley. One program is in the process of restructuring everything following a visit from Rev. Talley. Another program shared their excitement when Rev. Talley agreed to visit their community. As he critiqued everything, they made changes. He will review their plans and provide ongoing guidance. They said, "He's great!"
- OCOC programs say their staff must know all the churches and families well. While this is work that staff can enjoy, as the churches are very enthusiastic, programs shared that it is important for staff to take care of themselves to avoid burnout. To maintain camaraderie and enthusiasm, some program staff go out and eat together. To keep the excitement, one program keeps setting new goals and doing something different.
- NNAAP sees customer service as critical. When a church or a family calls, it is important that someone answers the phone and responds within 1 day. Some program staff carry cell phones. Staff know that when people call they must take time to talk with them and not put them off. The first voice must be warm and friendly and provide answers to their questions. There needs to be followthrough. Staff need to stay in touch and support churches and families through the process.
- In one program, the family support specialist is a key position. She is available after hours so families can call her, ask questions, and talk about challenges. She handles the paper work, does the training, and always demonstrates respect and compassion for families. This has improved the retention of those families who come forward. As she develops relationships, trust, and credibility, families are more satisfied as they go through the process. This leads to more families being recruited through word of mouth.
- Families are recognized as the greatest asset. One OCOC program modeled its response system after that of AdoptUsKids. They answer calls, refer families to agencies, and follow them through the process by providing support as needed. Another program sends a packet when families call. They track progress and call the family if they do not receive an application back. They invite families to an information meeting and training. They license families to be foster and adoptive parents, and they provide support and services to these resource families.
- Programs use various types of recruitment strategies. Child-specific recruitment works best for some, while others use targeted recruitment with organizations where they have had success before.
- One OCOC program found it helpful to hold an organizational retreat to develop a logic model for community caring.
- Other tips from programs include having a little money available for food and bulletin inserts, having a system for keeping statistics and financial records, and sending a thank you note acknowledging every gift.
- Most OCOC programs have an advisory board made up of pastors, church members, and others from the community. Board members can reach out and reinforce the OCOC message. Some boards are very active in keeping relationships with churches at the forefront.
- Suggestions for effective boards included adding new people, having some permanent members and some rotating members, and recruiting diverse board members (e.g., child welfare agency staff, community leaders, foster parents who have adopted, educators, and lawyers).
- Most OCOC programs provide training for families and some do workshops at churches statewide throughout the year. Offerings include raining for foster and adoptive parents, parenting in exceptional times, information about State laws, developing a safety plan for their children, promoting awareness of extended family, seeing the church as a place to call if they or a loved one needs help, cultural competency for parents for children of color in the system, cultural competency training for African-American and Caucasian parents, strengthening, and training the whole family unit.
- NNAAP and author Jane Talley recently completed "Best Practices for One Church One Child Model Programs." A copy is attached to this report. This publication was part of their response to the expectation that NNAAP would expand replication of the OCOC concept and provide technical assistance to those programs that used the concept or wanted to. As they began development of this guide, they held peer-to-peer meetings in Bloomington, MN, and Richmond, VA, inviting OCOC organizations to come together, share their experiences, and receive training and technical assistance. They asked participants what they had found to be the best operation concepts. They interviewed and received reports from one-third of the OCOC organizations around the country.
- According to the guide, the core elements of the OCOC model concept include the following:
- Collaborate with churches as they identify potential foster or adoptive parents, willing to adopt or care for at least one child
- Target a particular cultural group (i.e., Hispanic, Latin American, Indian)
- Provide training for leaders of faith institutions, parents, adoption and foster care workers, church coordinators and others
- Partner with child-placing agencies on State and local levels
- Provide support to foster and adoptive parents before and after placement
- The best practices they identified are organized into four sections:
- Organizational development
- Board and staff development
- Adoption recruitment
- Service delivery
- The guide describes specific aspects of each best practice, then gives concrete examples of how to apply each of them.
Marketing and Recruitment
- While training and placement services are considered important, faith- and community-based marketing and recruitment are seen as critical. This upfront work leads to the placement outcomes everyone is trying to achieve. The message is about the importance of permanent homes for children and the need for people to step forward.
- They find that programs are most successful when they are really passionate about their vision of engaging churches in this work and when they have strong, competent, capable leadership articulating this message. Large programs feel it is important to divide the territory up and have people positioned in regions/cities/counties to do this marketing and recruitment work. This work needs to be done at the top and also at the community level.
- Example of marketing and recruitment activities include:
- OCOC radio spots are targeted to specific communities.
- Weekend promotions are held to recruit respite providers.
- The Photo Heart Gallery is available online at: http://www.heartgalleryofamerica.org/About_Heart_Gallery/History.asp.
- Theme parties are held, and 10-15 children and families engage in activities so they are able to interact with one another. OCOC then follows up with families to see if they are interested in more information on particular children.
- At Christmas time, OCOC partners with a restaurant to find out about children's Christmas wishes and has the customers take a name. OCOC hosts a dinner party at the restaurant, and children are able to take gifts home.
- Maintaining the motivation and commitment of families, churches, and OCOC programs is a challenge. In one program, only 1 family out of every 20 families recruited makes it completely through the adoption process. Even after adoptions are finalized, families need support during crises. During the site visit, one staff person was called away from the conference to help an adoptive family that was very upset because they needed plane tickets to attend a family reunion, but they didn't have any money. The program offered to pay half. This family has already adopted two children and is considering several more.
- Over the years, some OCOC programs and member churches have come and gone. To sustain this work, staff suggested that they keep creativity alive, do something new, and "feed" everybody so they all feel good about what they are doing. When programs reach a plateau, there is a need to keep the excitement going. One way they do this is by starting new programs in other communities. Once families have adopted, programs need to stay in touch. They need to build a network of people, offer retreats, have a family night out, and keep the marriage fire burning. There is a recognition that adoption isn't over at finalization. During the waiting period, they keep in touch with families.
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Evaluation | Sustainability
- The message of the National Network of Adoption Advocacy Programs (NNAAP), its "bottom line," is that this work is about outcomes, specifically child placement.
- Staff from a Maryland program stated that their One Church, One Child (OCOC) program has been effective. They are getting children into homes, which they believe will impact education, homelessness, and poverty. As a result, children will grow up to be more productive and less angry. For example, a family in one of their churches provided short-term foster care for a 4-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sister, both of whom had been maltreated. They agreed to care for these children for a month, and they are still there after 5 years. They have adopted these children and they consider themselves part of this family. They have four children of their own, with one son still living at home. These two children have changed for the better over the years. They are part of this family and their church family too.
- The site visitor saw a video about 10 children who had all been adopted by families in the Third Union church in Richmond, VA, where Rev. Talley is pastor. The story began when someone reported that some children were starving. Their father had been shot, had become disabled, and was unable to work. The mother and her children needed help with food and other basic necessities. A church member who worked for the Food Bank picked up some food and delivered it. She made this family her first stop that day. The children stormed her car, grabbed food, and started eating it without preparing it. After that she went to this home frequently and got social services involved. They helped solve a problem with getting one child into school by providing the mother with a ride to pick up the birth certificate. They taught the children to be more orderly. They asked about bringing the children to vacation bible school and received permission to take two children at first. Individuals helped this family for years before the church became formally involved. The children started singing in the church choir, and members took care of the children on weekends. When the children were eventually removed from their home, church members provided foster care and then adopted them. One member adopted four children, and other members took one child each. The children spoke of their experiences, how good it felt to know their siblings were safe nearby with people they knew, and the comfort of seeing their siblings regularly at church.
- A North Carolina program began in 2006 by inviting the community to an afternoon refreshment time. They invited 150 churches and 10-12 came. Seven churches joined that day, and there are now 28 member churches. This OCOC program added recruitment, faith-based and relationship support components to the existing adoption program. They include children from group homes and independent living programs in their activities.
- A Texas program has a Hispanic ministry and licenses Spanish-speaking families. They reach out mainly to Catholic churches for recruiting and go to health fairs. Their case managers are bilingual. They received a mini-grant from NNAAP last year to expand their program. So far this year, six families are adopting ten children.
- The NNAAP Year 1 evaluation report is attached. Contents include:
- Background and Significance
- Implementation and Evaluation
- Baseline Survey Summary
- NNAAP Logic Model
- NNAAP Membership Survey
- NNAAP Mini-Grant Request for Proposals
- The NNAAP Year 2 evaluation report also is attached. Contents include:
- Evaluation Approach and Methodology
- Overall Findings on Progress
- Grantee Characteristics
- Programs Toward Outcomes
- What Worked Well
- Challenges and Opportunities for Improvement
- Logic Model and Evaluation Plan, Revised October 18, 2005
- Focus Group Questions for NNAAP Grantees
- Grantee Lessons Learned
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- OCOC started in Chicago in 1981. By 1988, 32 States were involved. The Maryland program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
- At the NNAAP Conference, Rev. Talley told participants that, "the NNAAP grant is running its course, but we're still here, a ready resource for you." He said that he believes and thinks God is going to make things happen. Participants spoke of NNAAP bringing new interest, energy, resources, and commitment to the mission and purpose of OCOC. One conference participant stated that she will take back the Heart Gallery idea, get more pictures of children, and give prospective parents a more realistic understanding of children who are in foster care.
- As new churches learn about OCOC, they are committing to implementing the OCOC format, and child welfare agencies are seeing the value in working with these faith-based organizations.
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