Winning Greater Public Support for Foster Care Issues


Research showed that the American public felt that the foster care system was largely dysfunctional and too complex. Fewer and fewer people were listing foster care as an important social issue. Casey Family Programs sought to reverse the trend by spurring greater public awareness and involvement.


Bichsel led a team together that created a national paid advertising, community engagement and social media campaign in order to build awareness and public support for investing in America's children. The campaign linked placement in foster care to larger social issues such as homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and prison rates. Called "Raise Me Up," the campaign directed people to a national website that connected them with volunteer opportunities in their community to help struggling families and provide safe, permanent homes for foster children.


The goals for the campaign were to:
  • Raise the awareness of foster care issues.
  • Extend the breadth and scope of community partnerships and citizen engagement.
  • Align opinion leaders with the campaign.
The campaign was launched in Austin, TX; Philadelphia; Camden, NJ and Atlanta.. Each launch included a press conference, editorial board meetings and community events featuring high-ranking officials such as governors, corporate executives, state Supreme Court justices, media sponsors, community activists, professional athletes and foster care alumni. Here are some of the results:

Increased awareness: Pre- and post-campaign polling showed that in each market the campaign generated a significant increase in awareness and raised the importance of foster care as an issue of significant social importance.

Extended partnerships: In each market, the campaign was able to build on Casey Family Programs' existing relationships with child welfare agencies to enlist new allies willing to advocate Casey's messages. In addition, the campaign heightened community engagement. In fact, "Raise Me Up" enlisted 200,000 people to take some kind of action on behalf of children in foster care.

Political alignment: Political leaders in all markets enthusiastically linked their offices (and political capital) to the campaign, increasing their receptivity to our messages and policy agendas.

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