New PSAs showcase heartwarming “moments” 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 Barbarian, reminds prospective parents that teens in foster care can also help them grow in new ways.

The number of children waiting for adoption has increased over the last five years, from 106,600 in fiscal year (FY) 2014 to 125,400 in FY 2018. After the termination of parental rights, teenagers in foster care face a challenging time with getting adopted. Teenagers between the ages of 15- to 17-year-old wait on average twice as long for an adoptive home, compared to children who are 14 years of age and younger. Currently, about one in five children waiting to be adopted are teenagers, and approximately 42 percent of children actively photolisted on AdoptUSKids – a project funded by the Children’s Bureau -- are between the ages of 15 and 18. The goal of the PSAs is to bring awareness of the many children who are in foster care, in hopes that a child who is eligible to be adopted from foster care can find a permanent connection with an adoptive family or guardian.

“Meeting with young people regularly who have left the foster care system, some with permanent families and some without, we are reminded routinely and emphatically how important a sense of belonging and connection through being a part of a family is to these young people and others like them,” said Jerry Milner, the Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau. “When we allow children and youth for whom we have responsibility to leave our foster care system without one of the most important ingredients for their long-term success and well-being – a permanent family – we are doing them an injustice and perpetuating trauma in their lives. Ensuring that they have permanency and stability in their lives must be a primal responsibility for all of us in child welfare.”

National Adoption Month is each November. This year’s adoption campaign and PSAs provides insight from youth who are in foster care about why it’s important to find a permanent family connection as they enter into adulthood. Inspired by true stories from real adoptive families, the PSAs are filled with heartfelt memories families experience after adopting a teen from foster care. The tagline of the PSAs, “Learn about adopting a teen from foster care. You can’t imagine the reward,” remind prospective parents that teens in foster care can also help them grow in new ways.

“We spent hours talking with adoptive families during the creative process,” said Leo Leone, Executive Creative Director at Barbarian. “In those conversations, we found their stories to be genuinely compelling—often ending conversations with both smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes. That was the center of our creative idea—real, emotional, life-changing moments built on these special family relationships.”

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 $608 million in donated media support across television, radio, print, out-of-home and digital media.

Since the AdoptUSKids project began in FY 2003, more than 32,000 children who were once photolisted on AdoptUSKids.org have been reported as placed in adoptive homes and more than 39,000 families have registered on the AdoptUSKids website to search for and inquire about photolisted children and create family profiles.

“Since this campaign launched 15 years ago, we’ve helped connect more than 30,000 children with their adoptive families,” said Michelle Hillman, Chief Campaign Development Officer of the Ad Council. “We’re thrilled to continue this uplifting work and show prospective parents the love that can come from adopting a teen from foster care.”

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 PSAs can be viewed at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/media.

Quick Facts

  • Teenagers between the ages of 15- to 17-year-old wait on average twice as long for an adoptive home, compared to children who are 14 years of age and younger.
  • Currently, about one in five children waiting to be adopted are teenagers, and approximately 42 percent of children actively photolisted on AdoptUSKids are between the ages of 15 and 18.
  • Since the AdoptUSKids project began in FY 2003, more than 32,000 children who were once photolisted on AdoptUSKids.org have been reported as placed in adoptive homes and more than 39,000 families have registered on the AdoptUSKids.

Quotes

“Meeting with young people regularly who have left the foster care system, some with permanent families and some without, we are reminded routinely and emphatically how important a sense of belonging and connection through being a part of a family is to these young people and others like them. When we allow children and youth for whom we have responsibility to leave our foster care system without one of the most important ingredients for their long-term success and well-being – a permanent family – we are doing them an injustice and perpetuating trauma in their lives. Ensuring that they have permanency and stability in their lives must be a primal responsibility for all of us in child welfare.”
Jerry Milner, the Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau
“We spent hours talking with adoptive families during the creative process. In those conversations, we found their stories to be genuinely compelling—often ending conversations with both smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes. That was the center of our creative idea—real, emotional, life-changing moments built on these special family relationships.”
Leo Leone, Executive Creative Director at Barbarian
“Since this campaign launched 15 years ago, we’ve helped connect more than 30,000 children with their adoptive families. We’re thrilled to continue this uplifting work and show prospective parents the love that can come from adopting a teen from foster care.”
Michelle Hillman, Chief Campaign Development Officer of the Ad Council

Multimedia

 

Last Reviewed: October 23, 2019
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