Older children in foster care, particularly teenagers, have a hard time being adopted from foster care. Of the estimated 428,000 youth in the U.S. foster care system, 112,000 youth are currently waiting for adoptive families.
“All of us – and that includes teens in foster care who are waiting to be adopted – need and want families to support us and to give us the connections, relationships, and sense of belonging that are so critical to our well-being,” said Jerry Milner, associate commissioner at the Children’s Bureau, and the acting commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families.
New public service advertisements (PSAs) launched by the Children’s Bureau at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in partnership with the Ad Council, AdoptUSKids and KBS, highlight the importance of adopting teens from foster care and emphasize that adoptive and potential adoptive parents do not have to be a perfect parent in order to adopt youth from foster care.
The PSAs feature the theme of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting… A Teenager” to recognize that being there for a teenager is the most important role that an adoptive parent can play as well as encouraging the adoption of teens from foster care.
“The parents and families who adopt older teens from foster care enrich their own lives while providing an incredible impact on the lives of the adopted children and teens at a time when it is needed most,” said Milner. “We are proud to sponsor the Adoption from Foster Care campaign to encourage adoptions of teens nationwide.”
KBS collaborated with the authors and illustrator of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” on the PSAs, which include TV, out-of-home, print and digital materials. The PSAs feature videos of well-intentioned moms and dads attempting to give new parents of teens step-by-step parenting tutorials in the What to Expect When You’re Expecting tone – namely how to wake up your teen and how to teen-proof your home.
The print, digital and out-of-home creative parodies the original book cover and illustrations by humorously showing common scenarios parents can expect when adopting a teen, such as confusing text messages, binge-watching and prom proposals.
The Children’s Bureau provides funding to AdoptUSKids to raise public awareness about the need for families for children in foster care, and assist states, territories and tribes to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families and connect them with children.
The Ad Council will distribute the new PSAs to media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council’s model, the PSAs will run in time and space donated by the media. Since the initial launch of the campaign in 2004, the campaign has received more than $565 million in donated media support across television, radio, print, out-of-home and digital media.
The PSAs direct audiences to visit AdoptUSKids.org or to call 1-888-200-4005 (English) or 1-877-236-7831 (Spanish) to receive information about the foster care system and the adoption process.
“The many thousands of teens in foster care are there at no fault of their own and are just as in need of family as anyone,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “This project has already helped more than 28,000 youth find their forever families and experience the many milestones teens first encounter. We hope that this new work inspires prospective parents to consider adopting teens from foster care and become the pillar of stability and love every teen needs.”
For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, please visit AdoptUSKids.org or visit the AdoptUSKids social communities on Facebook and Twitter.