Long-time Butler County orphan ministry that places special needs children at risk of closure

The Shepherd’s Crook has helped more than 400 children get placed in stable homes over the last two decades.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 10:45 PM EST
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - A nonprofit that works to get children with special needs adopted could close in two months following a massive dip in donations.

Leaders with The Shepherd’s Crook Orphan Ministry in Butler County say they’re working with a dozen adoption agencies to help get 1,200 more children placed in homes. But falling donations means that work might come to an end.

“There’s always a bit of danger with that, with donations coming in,” Executive Assistant Greg Godwin said. “We do not charge the adoption agencies or the families who adopt through us any fees.”

It’s a service Godwin’s family has provided through The Shepherd’s Crook for more than two decades, advocating for older children including those with special needs, both locally and internationally, to be placed in stable homes.

“Over 400 kids have come home over the last 20 years through The Shepherd’s Crook,” Godwin said. “Our heart has always been to share stories of kids who are hard to place.”

The dip in donations followed the pandemic and economic uncertainty.

“We’ve had enough donations come in over the last couple of weeks that it looks like we’re going to make payroll next month as well,” Godwin said. “But if donations don’t pick up, we’ll be in the same situation in two more months.”

Godwin says the organization needs at least $150,000 to keep operating through year’s end, something he says is critical to keep advocating for a group of children he says is too often abandoned and neglected.

“Special needs adoption is difficult,” he said. “It’s difficult in a number of ways. Not just when a child comes home, but even getting the word out about them. [...]These are kids where there are no lines of families waiting for them.”

Godwin’s family is hopeful more donations could come in to help the organization stay afloat and compel more families to adopt at a time when adoption rates are falling.

“These kids are still valuable,” he said. “These kids are still made in the image of God. They’re still worthwhile. Worth our time, and our investment, and our love.”

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