New PSAs Raise Awareness of the 31,000 Older Youth Awaiting Adoption in the U.S. Foster Care System

Facebook Chat Today to Provide Information to Prospective Parents and Debunk Myths about Adoption from Foster Care

/ PRNewswire / — Today, nearly 102,000 children (under 18 years of age) are available for adoption from the foster care system in the United States; more than 30 percent (31,000) are between the ages of 11 and 17, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Report System (AFCARS 2012). To encourage prospective parents to consider adopting an older youth from foster care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council are unveiling new public service advertisements (PSAs) today.

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“Every young person deserves the chance to grow up in a permanent, loving family,” said JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau. “These heartwarming ads remind us that no child is too old for a family, and no parent need be perfect to provide a loving home.”

Created pro bono by advertising agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners (kbs+), the new television, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs end with the tagline: “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” The objective is to reassure potential parents that all kinds of people have the potential to make a positive impact on a child’s life. All of the PSAs direct audiences to visit AdoptUSKids.org or to call 1-888-200-4005 (English) to receive the latest information about the foster care system and the adoption process.

“This year, we wanted to take a fresh approach to the campaign and tell the story from the perspective of adopted children,” said Michael Abell and Kevin Gentile, Creative Directors at kbs+. “Using humor, the children demonstrate, in their own words, how they are able to look past flaws and mistakes and see their adoptive parents as heroes.”

“Through our partnership with HHS and AdoptUSKids, we have developed a truly remarkable campaign that has provided more than 21,000 children with permanent, loving homes,” said Ad Council President & CEO Peggy Conlon. “Thousands of older youth are looking for ‘imperfect parents’ today and we know that through the support of the media we can reach even more prospective parents.”

In addition to the PSAs, a Facebook Chat will take place today from 2 to 3 pm ET on AdoptUSKids’ Facebook page to connect prospective parents with campaign representatives, parents and their adopted older youth. The online chat will also be an opportunity to debunk many of the top myths about foster care adoption, including:

  1. Adoption is expensive. Families who work directly with a public agency typically incur no costs. Families who use a private agency, which will, in turn, work with the public agency in their state or county, may have some out-of-pocket expenses.
  2. You have to be married. You do not have to be married to adopt in most states. Many children have been very successfully adopted by single parents.
  3. You have to have a college degree. Having a high school diploma or college education is not required. What is important is that you have the stability, compassion, and commitment to raise a child, as well as being flexible and have a good sense of humor.
  4. You have to own a home and each child has to have their own room. You can rent your home or live in an apartment or a mobile home so long as your living situation is a stable one. Also, each child needs a bed of their own not room of their own.
  5. You can only adopt a child who is the same race and ethnicity as you. Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child in U.S. foster care and the prospective parent or parents who are seeking to adopt them. The only exception to this law is the adoption of Native American children where special considerations apply.

Since July 2004, the Ad Council has partnered with ACF, AdoptUSKids and kbs+ on a national multimedia campaign to encourage the adoption of children from foster care. Since the creation of the campaign, nearly 34,000 families have registered to adopt through AdoptUSKids. The campaign has received more than $397 million in donated media support across television, radio, print, outdoor and digital media. Per the Ad Council model, the new PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families
Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is the agency that is responsible for federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) administers national programs for children and youth; works with states, Tribes, and local communities to develop services that support and strengthen family life; seeks joint ventures with the private sector to enhance the lives of children and their families; and provides information and other assistance to parents. Many of the programs administered by ACYF focus on children from low-income families; abused and neglected children; children and youth in need of foster care, independent living, adoption or other child welfare services; preschool children; children with disabilities; runaway and homeless youth; and children from Native American and migrant families. For more information on ACF’s adoption programs, please visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/focus-areas/adoption.

AdoptUSKids
AdoptUSKids is a multi-faceted, federally funded project whose mission is 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 project is managed through a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau at ACF.

Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners (kbs+)
Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners (kbs+) is an integrated creative, advertising and marketing agency that is shifting the industry paradigm from innovation to invention. We are committed to inventing and creating the highest value ideas for our clients and for ourselves. Our team of passionate inventors and creative entrepreneurs is dedicated to doing things that matter and making things that matter. Today kbs+ serves a diverse roster of clients that includes American Express, BMW, HomeGoods, KAO Brands, BMO Financial Group, Nike SB, NASDAQ OMX, William Grant & Sons, Simmons Bedding Company, Victoria's Secret PINK, Boar's Head and Vanguard. For more information on kbs+, a member of the MDC Partners Network, please visit http://www.kbsp.com or follow us @kbsp_agency.

The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action, and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit adcouncil.org. For more information, please visit adcouncil.org. You can also visit facebook.com/adcouncil or follow the Ad Council on Twitter @AdCouncil.

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PRESS CONTACTS:
Kenneth Wolfe
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Public Affairs
(202) 401-9215
kenneth.wolfe@acf.hhs.gov

Lisa Cullen
The Ad Council
lcullen@adcouncil.org
(202) 331-5052

Sloane Occhiuto
Powell Communications for kbs+
socchiuto@powellny.com
(212) 475-6301 ext. 111