Awareness Campaign Part 1: Campaign Planning

INFORM  |  IMPACT  |  INSPIRE

AWARENES CAMPAIGN PART 1: CAMPAIGN PLANNING

Defining the Problem:

Not every family wants to have kids but every kid must have a family. Foster Washington is a campaign to raise awareness for kids without families. Becoming a foster parent for the kids in our own community is the right thing to do but not many are aware that there is an extremely large amount of kids in our own state of Washington who need a home, a family, a better future. Children and youth in foster care system are often separated not only from their families, but their friends and their communities.

According to Susanna Ray and Allegra Abramo’s article from October 26, 2016 published on InvestigateWest.org (a non-profit group of journalist investigating local issues) State of Washington foster system is overloaded, lacks funding, training and is dysfunctional, which causes a high turnover and essentially decreases the number of foster parent participation. Foster Washington campaign would inform the community of the problems with the current foster care program, raise awareness and promote local community to stand against the issues of foster care and become foster parents.

Our kids are our future and kids without families have very little hope in the future of their own. Becoming a foster parent in your community is not a difficult task. You know what they say “It takes a village to raise a child” so do your part, become the change agent for your own community, help resolve the problem of not having a family for many children and youth of your own state and Foster your Washington’s Future.

Preliminary Research:

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Children’s Administration (CA) is the public child welfare agency for the state of Washington. According to their website, organization has the staff of 2,400 employees in 46 field offices, this agency is the safety network for our community, providing support, safety and promote well-being of children. The core services include CPS – child protective services that include two sections: 1) Investigations – of sexual, physical abuse and neglect; 2) Family Assessment Response (FAR) – social workers establish and build on the strengths of the existing families to succeed in long-term.

The state lost nearly 5-th of every foster home between the year 2008 and 2015.  Families just quit and potential recruits did not want to sign up.

The cause, according to the INVW.org is high turnover, overworked and overloaded system.  Overwhelmed social workers unable to keep up with the loads of communication between foster families and the social workers.

As INVW.org mentions, the state judges during hearings overlook foster families and child’s attachments and instead prioritize biological ties above child’s needs and emotional attachments. This is where the core disconnection begins for the foster system.

Lack of training for the foster families with high troubled children entering the system. Intensive treatments and mental health problems are often inadequate or unavailable.

There should be a combination of informing the audience, persuading them to become parents and inspire local families to open up their hearts, their homes and awaken their altruistic innerselves to help the community fight against the issues of the foster system.  

http://www.vis.pocdata.org/graphs/permanency-cohort shows some statistics of long-term placement. With the uncertainty of the long-term placement.  The process that leads to adoption is emotionally draining and is difficult on families.

Vicious circle – the high turnover of social workers is extremely costly to the state, it leads to the shortage in foster homes thus increasing the load on foster parent support system.

SWOT Analysis: 

    • Strengths: What do you see as the organization, cause, or movement’s strengths and advantages?

Strengths: http://invw.org/2016/09/21/four-ways-to-fix-washingtons-foster-care-system/

    • Weaknesses: Where are their greatest deficiencies or challenges?

Greatest weakness is the lack of community involvement that causes shortage of adults willing to become foster parents.  This is due to the poor support system and overloaded foster care.

    • Opportunities: Given the current industry climate and community – what opportunities can they take advantage of?

Develop more local sanctuary programs that help protect recently dislocated and removed from homes children.

Create free college courses to educate community on the issues and solutions right here in our own state.

Design and coordinate fundraising campaign and donation kiosks to engage community in helping children overcome their situation.

Create an image for the foster care system.

Adoption agencies charge a lot of money to help their clients become a family.  The state currently has NO fees associated with adoption and this is a benefit to the families who want to have a child but cannot afford thousands and thousands of dollars on adoption and legal fees.

    • Threats: Based on current industry, community need and demand or competitive initiatives– what do you see as potential threats to their success?

The major threat to the foster care system is the notion among state judges during hearings whom overlook foster families and child’s attachments and prioritize biological ties to child’s needs and emotional attachments. Instead the approach should be to consider the child’s future and compare what is the most beneficial direction for the child.  If the birth parents are likely to relapse and expose the child to threat of abuse or neglect, vs. providing a quality permanent home through adoption.

Another threat is the image of the foster care system that perceived to be negative, depressing. Although the subject is not a happy one, the outcome should be positive and uplifting… but often times, the negative aspects tend to linger around.

Core Messaging: Create a 5W profile or inverted pyramid about your organization, cause, or movement.

    • WHO:

State Department of Social and Health Services, Children’s Administration. Public child welfare organization for the state of Washington.

    • WHAT

Develop and implement programs and services that provide support to families, protect children’s well being. Support placement and permanency for children in out-of-home care.  Child Safety, Fostering, Adoption.

    • WHERE

Urban areas state-wide, areas where child abuse and neglect are prevalent.

    • MESSAGE

Community begins from its family unit.  Children’s Administration provides the net for those who have fallen through the cracks. State is in need of its community to get together and make this net stronger.

    • WHY

You were a child once.  Imagine your home is gone, your family is dysfunctional, you do not know why or what you did to cause this… Why should we as a community of the state of Washington care about our own children? Children will grow and become contributing members of our society.  If we allow even a single child to fall through the cracks of the system, what does it tell us? About us?

    • How will [donations, engagement, volunteering] make a difference?

Donate clothing, literature, skills, time, become a teacher, become a volunteer, become a parent become a foster, adopt a child.

    • How can individuals learn more, help or get involved, attend, donate and engage?

Website, Facebook page, attend seminar, donate to the cause, become a member of #FosterWashington.

Target Audience Profile: Profile key audience types using the following general outline.

    • Main Target Audience Characterization:

Parents, families with or without children whom are looking to expand their household through foster and/or adoption. Age range between 30s – 40s.  Adequate housing and income to be able to provide and care for dependents.  

    • What does audience already know:

Children are in need of families, children may be fostered, returned to their biological families, or in case of termination become available for adoption.

    • What would motivate the audience:

The feeling of becoming a part to something bigger than yourself. Sense of community, sense of a village to raise the children of our state.  #FosterWashington. #fostermom #fosterdad #mynewfamily

    • Frustrations and Excitements:

Difficulty to obtain quality education on child welfare programs, foster and foster to adoption process.  Lack of resources, overloaded system that creates vicious circle and foster children end up in the system for too long.

    • General Media Usage and Preference:

Active web and mobile devices users, participate in facebook and reading, watch cable news, more then likely online shoppers and researchers. Definitely pay attention to posters and billboards about foster children.  Radio and TV may be a good point of access.

 

RESOURCES:

http://invw.org/2016/10/28/washington-states-troubled-foster-care-program-struggles-to-keep-a-key-group-foster-parents/

https://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/about-childrens-administration

https://amaraputskidsfirst.org/programs-initiatives/emergency-sanctuary/

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