THE IOFOC STORY

— Our Rewarding Journey

ILLINOIS ONE FAMILY ONE CHILD

“Embarking on our mission, three convictions propelled us forward: the imperative to aid our children in need, the belief that local community members must spearhead change, and the realization that action was not just necessary, but urgent,” declared Reverend Dr. Richard Nelson, pastor of the Greater Open Door Church in Chicago’s West Side. With unwavering resolve, a Catholic priest and a small group of clergy initiated a grassroots movement in 1981 dedicated to revolutionizing foster care adoptions in Illinois.

Their vision was clear: to address the growing backlog of youth awaiting placement in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. They rallied African-American families, leaders of faith-based institutions, and congregants alike, presenting a bold initiative: to enlist every church in the state, starting with Chicago, to open their hearts and homes to foster children from their own communities. Thus, the concept of One Church One Child of Illinois was born.

For decades, OCOC has been a beacon of hope, tirelessly working to secure nurturing foster homes for homeless youth. In 2006, it expanded its mission to include a groundbreaking focus: supporting foster youth who found themselves entangled in the juvenile justice system for the first time. Renamed Illinois One Family One Child (IOFOC), this organization has served as a lifeline for over 40 years, guiding inner-city youth toward a brighter future by facilitating their return to education, employment, and higher learning opportunities.

The board of directors and staff at IOFOC extend heartfelt gratitude to the mentors who have selflessly guided these young individuals and celebrate the remarkable transformations achieved by those who have embraced a path of positivity. These transformations demonstrate immense promise for the journey ahead.

Illinois One Family One Child, now Partners for Positive Change, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and one of our most engaging and rewarding programs. 

 

Mentor, author, and entrepreneur Stedman Graham offers guidance and encouragement to incarcerated youth.

Presented by US Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th District, IL), IOFOC receives the US Congress’ prestigious Angels in Adoption award for outstanding work in foster care and juvenile justice.

ABC-7 sportscaster Jim Rose offers a personal story and advice to youth at an Illinois Youth Correctional facility in Chicago.

Chicago Police Detective Gerald Hamilton takes an IOFOC youth shopping for new shoes.

IOFOC Board of Directors: Walter Johnson, Frank McSwain, Larry Lewis, Diana Harris, Detective Gerald Hamilton, Cleveland Thomas, Secretary, Sarah Thompson, Bobby Moore, Charles Jackson, Executive Director, Reanetta Hunt, Al Hailey, Chairman, Tyson Parks, Vice Chairman, Dr. Richard Nelson, and Dr. Cozette Buckney.

Juveniles gather in the auditorium at the Illinois Youth Corrections (IYC) facility on Chicago’s near West Side for an IOFOC mentor session with Reanetta Hunt and guest presenter Stedman Graham.

Youth Mentoring & Life Skills Development

For decades, IOFOC has developed and implemented training curricula for at-risk youth and created innovative public/ private social enterprises through which we have identified caring families and permanent homes for hundreds of homeless youth.

IOFOC’s work is recognized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and replicated as a national model. In Chicago, Program Director Chris Craft conducts mentor sessions for incarcerated teens.

Reflections of IOFOC’s Life-Changing Impact on “At-Risk” Youth

VIDEO TESTIMONIALS

Civic leaders, educators, former athletes, foster care providers, and other stakeholders praise the IOFOC foster care and youth mentor program.

Antonio Scott, Cornelius McDade, and Andre Heard, three young men in the IOFOC program, endeavoring to move past their juvenile justice experiences, return to school, and work toward a brighter future.

Fox News covered an IOFOC event where Judge Glenda Hatchett from Court TV delivered a motivational talk to over 60 young participants.

The IOFOC program was expanded, decreasing recidivism and placing many foster care youths in permanent homes. Congressman Danny Davis (IL-7th District) and Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Jr., expressed their support.

Youth participants openly discuss their challenges, experiences, setbacks, and future goals. They also share their plans to get back on track.

Youths G. Hughes and B. Stephenson from Chicago’s West Side share how a potentially deadly encounter ended in peace, crediting youth mentor director Chris Craft.