Annenberg Foundation Awards Grant to RaiseAChild.US to Deliver Parent Advocacy Support to LGBT Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

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Grant enables increased engagement and retention of resource families.

RaiseAChild.US encourages the LGBT community to consider building families of their own through fostering and adoption.

My husband and I were so touched by the example of another gay couple in our community. We saw what joy they created with their foster kids and we knew this would be our path.

Today, the new Parent Advocate program of RaiseAChild.US received a tremendous boost with a $30,000 grant and a $30,000 challenge grant from the Annenberg Foundation of Los Angeles. RaiseAChild.US is a nonprofit that encourages the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to build families through fostering and adoption. The first of its kind in the nation, the RaiseAChild.US Parent Advocate program is already working with more than 800 LGBT prospective parents whom the organization has recruited in its initial 18 months.

“For many prospective parents, navigating the foster/adoption process can be confusing and overwhelming,” says Rich Valenza, the organization’s Founder and President. “Additionally, many LGBT people fear that they are not welcome to foster or adopt. RaiseAChild.US replaces that misinformation with truth and encouragement. Now, with the help of the Annenberg Foundation, we are able to expand our success by providing ongoing support through our Parent Advocate Program.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children & Families, there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system. One quarter of these children are available for adoption. Certified families are in short supply and many children will “age out” of the system before finding permanent families.

RaiseAChild.US works closely with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “All Children – All Families” (ACAF) initiative, which provides professional training and technical assistance to foster care and adoption agencies that want to welcome and support LGBT foster and adoptive parents. To date, ACAF includes nearly 70 participating agencies across the country and has awarded 30 seals of recognition.

The non-profit was founded by LGBT foster and adoptive parents who want to “pay it forward,” according to John Ireland, the group’s media director. “My husband and I were so touched by the example of another gay couple in our community. We saw what joy they created with their foster kids and we knew this would be our path. Now it’s our turn to shine a light on the urgent need and encourage others to open their hearts and their homes.”

RaiseAChild.US media campaigns feature LGBT foster and adoptive parents and their families and include radio and television PSAs, as well as outdoor, print and social media advertisement. Each campaign culminates in recruitment events that connect the prospects to local foster agencies. Campaigns are focused on National Adoption Awareness Month (November), National Foster Awareness Month (May), Mothers Day and Fathers Day. The organization has recruited over 800 prospects through its campaigns.

Join the RaiseAChild.US community on Twitter @RaiseAChild and visit RaiseAChild.US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/raiseachild

About the Annenberg Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. The Foundation and its Board of Directors are also directly involved in the community with innovative projects that further its mission to advance public well-being through improved communication. The Foundation encourages the development of effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

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