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Ellsworth holds adoption campaign for local community

Chap. (Capt.) Benjamin Quintanilla, 28th Bomb Wing chaplain, speaks at the “Why not you?” campaign event at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 15, 2016. During the campaign, several agency representatives spoke on the different foster care programs willing families can take part in, and ways they can adopt. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert/Released)

Chap. (Capt.) Benjamin Quintanilla, 28th Bomb Wing chaplain, speaks at the “Why not you?” campaign event at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 15, 2016. During the campaign, several agency representatives spoke on the different foster care programs willing families can take part in, and ways they can adopt. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert/Released)

Tech. Sgts. Brian and Leah Thomas, 28th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness NCO, and 28th Operations Support Squadron unit deployment manager, respectively, speak about their experience as foster parents during the “Why Not You?” campaign at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 15, 2016. Many representatives spoke about the adoption and fostering programs their agencies offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert/Released)

Tech. Sgts. Brian and Leah Thomas, 28th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness NCO, and 28th Operations Support Squadron unit deployment manager, respectively, speak about their experience as foster parents during the “Why Not You?” campaign at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 15, 2016. Many representatives spoke about the adoption and fostering programs their agencies offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Ellsworth AFB chaplain corps held a "Why Not You?" adoption campaign at the Freedom Chapel on base, March 15, 2016.

Several agencies spoke about different foster care programs willing families can take part in and ways they can adopt.

"For children, having an adult figure in their life is a major part of the foundation that is formed to help proper child development," said Capt. Benjamin Quintanilla, 28th Bomb Wing chaplain. "Adult figures act as role models which children can emulate and look up to."

More than 100,000 children in America are homeless or orphaned, and anyone can apply to adopt or be a foster parent. However, applicants must meet certain qualifications to be approved.

Quintanilla said local agencies who focus on caring for children in foster care want to provide a safe environment for them to go to because many of the children are coming out of some very bad situations.

The following are the qualifications one must meet to be able to foster or adopt:

· Must be 21 years old

· Participate in a home study process and initial training

· Must be free of felony offenses or crimes against children

· Home must meet basic standards

· Must be financially stable

· Employment must allow time and flexibility

· Family composition can accommodate a child

Other agencies provide specific training for individuals who are interested in being part of programs similar to foster care, such as the Safe Families for Children program at Bethany Christian Services in Rapid City, S.D. They can attend training for specific roles, such as being a host family who takes in kids; family friends who help mentor families in temporary crisis; and family coaches who work with families to make sure the child is feeling comfortable with their host family.

"Our ultimate goal is to get the children back to their biological families," said Kristi Hedman, Foster One South Dakota adoptive family services specialist. "We try to keep foster kids connected to their schools, communities and their culture. In the end we find that, no matter what happened to them, the children want to go home."

Several agencies attended the event and can be contacted for more information on foster care or adoption.

Bethany Christian Services: (605) 343-7196

Foster One South Dakota: (605) 773-3165

Children's Home Society: (605) 334-6004

Lutheran Social Services: (605) 791-6700

Catholic Social Services: (605) 348-6086

DISCLAIMER: The appearance of names of outside organizations does not constitute endorsement by Ellsworth AFB, Air Force Global Strike Command, the United States Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external organizations, or the information, products or services contained