These PSAs Show the Beauty and Importance of Adopting Teens From Foster Care

Each year, more than 23,000 teens age out of the U.S. foster care system. This campaign is trying to change that statistic.

This year, more than 23,000 young people will leave foster care without a family, aging out of the system before they've been adopted, according to FosterOn. These teens are less likely than their peers with families to finish high school, go to college, and be emotionally secure. That's just one of the heartbreaking realities that new PSAs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), AdoptUSKids, and the Ad Council aim to raise awareness around.

The moving PSAs, part of an ongoing campaign that's now in its 18th year, aim to "share poignant and emotional stories as genuine as the teens and parents who inspired them," says Michelle Hillman, chief campaign development officer of the Ad Council, in a press release. "Through these films, we can help prospective parents see the rewards that come with adopting teens from foster care: a lifetime of memories and experiences that both parents and children benefit from."

For example, in "Lucky Ones," a foster mom named Jane sees that a commenter on her social media feed has described her daughter Aiden as "lucky." Yet Jane notes that it is she and her husband who are the lucky ones to have adopted Aiden.

And in "Portrait," a reserved teen spends his time drawing. His foster family ultimately learns he's been illustrating heartwarming, everyday moments in their home.

The campaign's goal is to "demonstrate to prospective parents that adopting a teenager means experiencing all of the love, joys, challenges, and rewards of parenting," notes Aysha E. Schomburg, associate commissioner, children's bureau, in the press release. "Teens never outgrow the need for a healthy family, and many teens who are in foster care especially benefit from the love, support, and stability that adoption can provide. Parents, teenagers, siblings, extended family, and communities all benefit when parents adopt a teenager and begin a new chapter of their family's story together."

According to the most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data, teens (13–17 years of age) constituted 22% of the children/youth waiting to be adopted in the foster care system, but account for only 11% of those adopted. Teenagers in foster care can face a particularly challenging time getting adopted and may wait up to twice as long to achieve permanency than younger children.

Bob Herne, national project director at AdoptUSKids, tells Parents.com, "Teens have lower adoption rates than younger children, and they often wait longer to be adopted. But no matter their age, all kids need the love and support of a family, and the teenage years are an especially critical period for parental help and guidance. We're so thrilled to launch this new campaign and hopefully inspire prospective parents to take that first step and learn more about adopting a teen from foster care by visiting AdoptUSKids.org."

With hope, these heartfelt PSAs will inspire viewers to imagine the reward of welcoming teens into their home.

For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child or teen from foster care, visit AdoptUSKids.org or visit the AdoptUSKids social communities on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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