New PSAs showcase heartwarming “firsts” for adopted teens and their families

New public service advertisements (PSAs) launched today by the Children’s Bureau at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, in partnership with the Ad Council, AdoptUSKids and Forsman & Bodenfors, highlight the importance of adopting teens from foster care, sharing the many “firsts” families may experience when adopting a teen from foster care.

The number of children waiting for adoption has increased over the last four years, from a low of 102,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2012 to 118,000 in FY 2016. After the termination of parental rights, teenagers wait on average twice as long for an adoptive home compared to youth 14 years of age and younger. Currently, about one in five children waiting to be adopted are teenagers, and approximately 43 percent of children actively photolisted on AdoptUSKids – a project funded by the Children’s Bureau – are between the ages of 15 and 18.

"As a case-carrying social worker in Alabama, many of the young people I worked with were older teens in the foster care system,” says Jerry Milner, associate commissioner of the Children’s Bureau. “Many of these young people are experiencing foster care through no fault of their own, and I believe we must do a better job of highlighting the importance a forever family has on these older youths’ wellbeing and the impact it plays on their transition to adulthood. Even with our stronger focus on primary prevention, we know there will still be a need for foster care and, furthermore, some of those young people becoming eligible for adoption. I am excited to see and proud to be a proponent of this greater focus on the need to adopt older teens from foster care. We know family, by any definition, is the best resource we have to create an environment for young people to be safe, healthy and ultimately thrive.”

In partnership with Forsman & Bodenfors, this year’s adoption campaign and PSAs focus on “firsts” – reminding prospective parents there are many special firsts to share with teens, from first dates, to losing a first big game and getting a driver’s license. The PSAs feature well-intentioned moms and dads experiencing various firsts with their teen, ending with the tagline, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. Thousands of teens in foster care can’t wait to share their firsts with you.”

“This campaign has made a lasting impact on so many lives since it first launched in 2004, and we’re not done yet,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “So far, we have helped more than 30,000 youth find homes and are thrilled to watch that number continue to grow as more potential adoptive parents become aware of the issue and give teens in foster care the love and stability they deserve, including the many ‘firsts’ they will experience as a family.”

In 2003, the Children’s Bureau partnered with AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council on a national adoption recruitment campaign to encourage adoptions from the U.S. foster care system. 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. Since the initial launch of the campaign in 2004, the campaign has received more than $595 million in donated media support across television, radio, print, out-of-home and digital media.

“As a platform, ‘firsts’ offers enormous creative potential, allowing us to dial up emotion and humor in different channels: TV spots that tug at the heart, clever social animations, and documentary storytelling grounded in a real family,” said Forsman & Bodenfors New York group creative director Matt Creamer. “The common thread is work that makes a powerful statement to potential adoptive parents, reminding them that whether your child is 15 months or 15 years there are plenty of ways to shape their minds and hearts.”

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.

 

Quick Facts

  • Older children in foster care, particularly teenagers, have a hard time being adopted from foster care.
  • The number of children waiting for adoption has increased over the last four years, from a low of 102,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2012 to 117,800 in FY 2016.
  • Currently, about one in five children waiting to be adopted are teenagers, and approximately 43 percent of children actively photolisted on AdoptUSKids are between the ages of 15 and 18.

Quotes

“As a case-carrying social worker in Alabama, many of the young people I worked with were older teens in the foster care system. Many of these young people are experiencing foster care through no fault of their own, and I believe we must do a better job of highlighting the importance a forever family has on these older youths’ wellbeing and the impact it plays on their transition to adulthood. Even with our stronger focus on primary prevention, we know there will still be a need for foster care and, furthermore, some of those young people becoming eligible for adoption. I am excited to see and proud to be a proponent of this greater focus on the need to adopt older teens from foster care. We know family, by any definition, is the best resource we have to create an environment for young people to be safe, healthy and ultimately thrive.”
Jerry Milner, Associate commissioner of the Children’s Bureau
“This campaign has made a lasting impact on so many lives since it first launched in 2004, and we’re not done yet. So far, we have helped more than 30,000 youth find homes and are thrilled to watch that number continue to grow as more potential adoptive parents become aware of the issue and give teens in foster care the love and stability they deserve, including the many ‘firsts’ they will experience as a family.”
Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council.
“As a platform, ‘firsts’ offers enormous creative potential, allowing us to dial up emotion and humor in different channels: TV spots that tug at the heart, clever social animations, and documentary storytelling grounded in a real family. The common thread is work that makes a powerful statement to potential adoptive parents, reminding them that whether your child is 15 months or 15 years there are plenty of ways to shape their minds and hearts.”
Matt Creamer, Forsman & Bodenfors New York Group Creative Director

Multimedia

 

Last Reviewed: October 25, 2018
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