November is National Adoption Month. It is an annual campaign to increase public awareness of the half million children who are waiting to be adopted from foster care across the country.
In the National Capital Region there is some good news. Through COG’s regional adoption programs like Wednesday’s Child and the work of COG member jurisdictions the number of children waiting to be adopted in our region has declined by 65% the past 5 years which means more children are finding permanent adoptive homes. Only 155 children were waiting to be adopted without a permanent match in 2013 according to COG’s Annual Report on Foster Care. The bad news is that an overwhelming number of children waiting 71% were teenagers.
Although tremendous efforts are made to find homes for teenagers in our region teens who are waiting to be adopted are more likely to age-out of the system without a permanent adoptive home. Aging out of the system makes children more vulnerable to homelessness unplanned pregnancies and incarceration.
COG has been working to identify a way to combat this alarming statistic with long-time Wednesday’s Child volunteer and 2011 recipient of COG’s Regional Partnership Award Joan Brady of Joan Brady Photography. COG and Joan Brady soft-launched The PicMe Project this spring and during National Adoption Month the project is being officially relaunched.
The PicMe Project is a new adoption recruitment program highlighting teenagers in foster care who are waiting to be adopted by featuring the teen in a 60-second slideshow then posting it on facebook and twitter. By using social media The PicMe Project has heightened awareness of teenagers who want to be adopted but are uncomfortable with television recruitment like Wednesday’s Child. Traditionally if a teen is unwilling to be featured on Wednesday’s Child other recruitment efforts are employed that are less public. The PicMe Project is cross between the two. It is a less invasive way to still introduce the teen to the public via social media rather than traditional news media and the project has also helped children rethink participating on Wednesday’s Child.
Each child’s PicMe story is shared on social media through a combination of professional photos taken by Joan Brady quotes phrases and music in a 60-second slideshow format. During National Adoption Month starting on Monday and every Monday thereafter a new PicMe Child will be posted on thepicmeproject.wordpress.com Facebook (www.facebook.com/kidsneedfamilies) and Twitter (@kidsneedafamily).
In addition to the slideshows the project has created a PicMe Network. The Network is comprised of people “networkers” who agree to share each PicMe story to their social media networks and through word of mouth. The project hopes to attract adoptive families for the featured teens but for those who are unable to commit to adopt consider joining the PicMe Network.
To learn more about adoption or to join the PicMe Network please email firstname.lastname@example.org.