New PSAs raise awareness of adopting older youth

The US Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council are unveiling a new series of public service advertisements today designed to continue to encourage the adoption of children from foster care, with an emphasis on the need for families for older youth.

November 03, 2015

More than 41% of children photolisted on the AdoptUSKids website are teens age 15–18

Washington, DC, November 3, 2015 – Today, the award-winning Adoption from Foster Care campaign from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council unveiled a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) that aim to encourage the adoption of older youth from foster care.

Of the 415,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, 108,000 children under the age of 18 are currently waiting for adoptive families, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). Since the AdoptUSKids project began in 2002, 25,000 children who were once photolisted on the AdoptUSkids website are now with their adoptive families and nearly 38,000 families have registered to adopt through AdoptUSKids. 41 percent of the approximately 5,360 youth listed on the website are aged between 15 and 18 years old.

“Every child deserves a family that will cherish them.  Yet older youth and teens often wait longer for an adoptive home.  No matter what their age, youth need the love and stability that a family can offer,” noted Rafael López, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families.  “Families who adopt older youth provide teens with support during a critical period of life and throughout many important milestones.  In recognition of National Adoption Month this November, we thank and celebrate all adoptive families throughout the country.  We are also proud to sponsor the Adoption and Foster Care campaign to encourage additional adoptions of older youth nationwide.”

The new creative extends the use of the campaign’s award-winning tagline “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” Created pro bono by advertising agency KBS, the new TV, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs showcase the creative strategy of “multiple choice parenting.” The TV PSAs portray a dad trying to give advice to his teenage daughter after her first breakup, and a mom giving her son a haircut at home. The humorous, lighthearted scenarios aim to reassure prospective parents that even if they are not ‘perfect’, they have the ability to provide the stability and security that older youth in foster care need and deserve. The PSAs direct audiences to visit or to call 1-888-200-4005 (English) or 1-877-236-7831 (Spanish) to receive the latest information about the foster care system and the adoption process.

“Welcoming a child into your home and your heart is one the greatest gifts a person can give,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done and the results we’ve achieved with AdoptUSKids, and I hope this new creative will continue to remind potential parents that they don’t have to be perfect to make a lifelong difference in somebody’s life.”

Jonathan Mackler, Co-CCO said, “One of the highlights of being at KBS is having the opportunity to work with Ad Council and AdoptUSKids. When you hear about how many children are waiting for adoptive families, particularly teens, you want to do everything possible to make the creative as inspiring and effective as it can be.”

In addition to the PSAs, a Facebook Q&A will take place today from 12 to 1 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 the cost to adopt, marriage status, educational achievement, and home ownership, among others.  

The Ad Council will distribute the new PSAs to media outlets nationwide this week.  Per the Ad Council’s model, the PSAs will run in time and space donated by the media. Since its initial launch in 2004, the campaign has received more than $502 million in donated media support across television, radio, print, outdoor and digital media.

For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, please visit or visit the AdoptUSKids’ communities on Facebook and Twitter.


US 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


AdoptUSKids is a multifaceted, 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.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a 70-year 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 affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.


KBS is a global creative business partner committed to doing things that matter. Our specialisms include: advertising, social, content, CRM, creative technology, public relations, media planning and buying. We have offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, London and Shanghai. We help a diverse roster of clients around the world including BMO, Church and Dwight, Unilever, American Express, BMW, Harman, King (maker of Candy Crush), Mondelez, TE Connectivity and Vanguard.

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