Jacqueline Sitt, News 9
PONCA CITY, Oklahoma -- Dozens of foster children were told four months ago they would be evicted from their home in Ponca City, but a restraining order from former State Attorney General Drew Edmondson stopped the home from closing and it's assets from being auctioned off. The American Legion's decision to close the home was allegedly made in an illegal board meeting, and a citizens group still wants to know why the board wants to close the facility.
Members of the Save the Children's Home Angels from Ponca City came out Saturday to hold a peaceful protest. The group said vets in the American Legion fought for our freedom of speech, now they're using that right to save the home.
The decision made by the American Legion Board would mean 44 children could be homeless and 60 people would be out of work.
"We have been very verbal, very vocal and we're just trying to get the word out because people don't know this is going on," said Tina Clonts, with Save the Children's Home Angels.
With pictures and just a few words, the Save the Children's Home Angels is sending a message to save the only home in the state that has helped dozens of Oklahoma's at-risk children for 80 years. The group is made up of volunteers, parents and the faces of the American Legion Children's Home in Ponca City.
"It's unnerving thinking that we need to completely uproot and move, but our concern mostly is for the children who reside in our home," Clonts said,
Clonts and her family live at the home and she's fighting for those who may be without a home, but not every American Ligonier supports the board's vote to close the home.
American Legion Member Regina Middleton said the news of the closing broke her heart and her biggest worry is the foster children.
"Where are they going to go? They're going to go back to the DHS system and be fostered out to some other group home or some families or whatever," Middleton said.
The new Attorney General Scott Pruitt stood by former Attorney General Drew Edmondson and blocked the closure of the children's home with a temporary restraining order against the board.
The American Legion's local attorney could not be reached for comment.
The Ponca City newspaper reported both sides will be in court on March 3.