Oklahoma City, Okla.- Just last year, Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care celebrated its 100th year of serving children and families in crisis. The new century in this agency’s life is dawning with promise and anticipation of better lives for children in, or at risk of being in, Oklahoma state custody.
Circle of Care’s programs include statewide Child SHARE foster care services, Pearl’s Hope Transitional Living program in Tulsa for single mothers and their children, and the Preparation for Adult Living program in Tahlequah and Gore for youth ages 16-24.
As part of a bold plan to expand services and meet an enormous need for placement options for sibling sets in foster care, the agency recently began the Legacy of Care Capital Campaign. The campaign has received tremendous support having already raised over $2.5 million. Construction of the first home will begin in Alva, OK, in February.
As campaign progress accelerates, so too does plans for a transition in Circle of Care’s executive leadership. Don Batson has faithfully and adeptly served as CEO and President of Circle of Care for over 12 years. Mr. Batson acknowledged, “I expected to retire at 66, which is only a little over one year from now. However, the culmination of the capital campaign’s rapid success, and a deep desire on the part of my wife and I to be part of our children and grandchildren’s lives in Tennessee, has accelerated that plan.”
Following an extensive search, Keith Howard was selected as successor. Mr. Howard has served as Circle of Care’s Vice-President of Programs for the past two years. He has worked in the children and family services field since 2004. He and his wife, Staci, have six children, four of which are a sibling set adopted out of the foster care system in Texas. Keith is passionate about engaging churches and the community to making a lasting impact for kids.
Mr. Batson will continue to supervise and direct the Capital Campaign project as Mr. Howard assumes leadership of the agency on April 2, 2018. Mr. Howard asserted, “I’m honored to have been selected to lead the agency as we continue building on Circle of Care’s rich 100 year legacy and setting the groundwork for our next 100 years!”