YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Children Services is launching a program that has experienced success in other areas called the One Church, One Child program.

It’s a way to link the agency with the faith-based community to help recruit foster and adoptive families.

There is a placement challenge and a shortage of licensed foster homes available in Mahoning County. There is also a great need for permanent adoptive homes.

One Church, One Child would have churches identify at least one family who could foster or adopt a child.

Theresa Pancoe oversees the agency’s foster, adoption and kinship units at Mahoning County Children Services. She said the One Church, One Child is her agency’s “call for help.”

“We truly need the faith community’s help to recruit more families who can foster or adopt children in our custody and to also serve as a support and resource to families,” she said.

Jennifer Kollar, with Mahoning County Children Services, said there will be a lead person from the agency who will work with local churches.

“Now we have a person who is going to be designated to lead the program. She will be going out and meeting with faith-based community pastors and congregations and being able to lead, so you’ll start seeing her out in the community,” Kollar said.

To learn more about the One Church One Child program or becoming a foster caregiver, contact Mahoning County Children Services at 330.941.8888.

“One Church, One Child” was developed by Father George Clements of Chicago. His belief is that if every church identifies at least one family that fosters or adopts one child, there would be more placement options when a child enters foster care and fewer or no children waiting in foster care for a permanent adoptive family.

A 1987 American Television movie, “The Father Clements Story” was made about Clement’s life. The movie starred actors Lou Gossett, Jr., Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Carroll O’Connor.

Dave Sess contributed to this report.