‘Count Me in 4 Kids'
The conference ended with the unveiling of “Count Me in 4 Kids,” a new campaign aimed at connecting more children in the state's foster care system with loving foster and adoptive families.
Karen Waddell, president and chief executive officer of the Lynn Institute for Healthcare Research and the Lynn Health Science Institute, described the campaign's strategy for addressing foster care in the Oklahoma City metro area.
“It's a whole bunch of people who have collectively agreed that now is the time — these are our kids. They are all our kids,” Waddell said.
She said one of the campaign's goals will be to get more people involved in helping children and families in the foster care program. Churches are going to be encouraged to be the primary leaders in finding foster care and adoptive families from within their congregations, she said.
Waddell said the campaign also will strive to make it easier for more people to help in other ways, such as hosting foster children for a holiday or helping to provide a vacation or break for foster parents.
Jenna Worthen, a leader with the foster care recruitment initiative called the 111 Project, said Friday's gathering served as a “rallying point” to tell community leaders about the new campaign. She said the campaign's pilot programs are set to start around January.
Meanwhile, Lane said he hopes the conference discussions on a variety of issues will be continued at future meetings and gatherings among conference participants.
“What we're really trying to do is start a conversation,” he said.
Friday's one-day conference was sponsored by Hobby Lobby and Kimray Inc.