By JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau
The growing importance of keeping children in foster care connected with their siblings, extended families and communities. An increased understanding of the need for permanency for older youth in foster care. More awareness of the true cost of allowing our nation’s children to simply age out of foster care.
These are just a few of the evolving issues that state child welfare agencies grapple with every day.
Each November since 1990, the nation has celebrated National Adoption Month as a time to raise public awareness of the more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care who deserve and are currently waiting for the love and protection that a permanent adoptive family can provide.
During National Adoption Month, we join and support efforts in communities across our nation to bring renewed attention to the ongoing need for human resources to assure that the needs of children and their families – biological, step, kin, foster and adoptive – are recognized and met. Not all Americans are ready and able to adopt, but everyone is called upon to honor and support those who do. Find out how you can help.
In partnership with AdoptUSKids and Child Information Gateway, our 2013 National Adoption Month Initiative provides groundbreaking tools to help child welfare professionals tap into the power of the media to showcase the need for foster, adoptive and kinship care families and to celebrate the families who have answered the call. Featuring the theme, Partnering for Permanency, the initiative emphasizes the important role local media plays in raising the community’s awareness of the impact they can have on positive outcomes for children and youth.
Since July 2004, the Children’s Bureau has partnered with AdoptUSKids, the Ad Council and kbs+ on a national multimedia campaign to encourage the adoption of children from foster care using the tagline “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” Since its launch the campaign has received more than $383 million in donated media support across television, radio, print, outdoor, and digital media, in addition to expanding to a substantial presence on social media networks.
The 2013 National Adoption Month initiative introduces a localization element, allowing states to customize the National Adoption Recruitment Campaign with their own contact information to make it easier for potential adoptive families to connect with their local child welfare agencies.
Our localization initiative also includes advice for agencies on how to develop positive working relationships with local media outlets in order to improve ad placement and promote positive stories about child welfare, foster care and adoption.
We’re committed to finding families for children and working together to positively impact the lives of children waiting for permanent homes -- and we believe innovative initiatives like this one will help do that.
The challenges faced by families and professionals may vary over the years, but a child’s need for stability and permanency never changes.