Adoption of kids from Foster Care


Use the case study regarding adoption of kids from Foster Care (2013):

detail its key components according to the �10 Step Social Marketing Plan�. Then, you are to critically evaluate the campaign in terms of the campaigns strengths and weaknesses, success to date, potential sustainability, how you might modify the strategy and any other kudos, criticisms or concerns



Background, Purpose and Focus

Teens’ adoption rate in the United States is lowest among the other adoptee demographics, resulting in at least 14,000 teens in foster care as of 2012. Teenagers between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years take longest to be adopted and are thus over-represented in foster homes (Dorn, 2012). The ‘You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent’ campaigns, conducted since 2004 by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families and the Ad Council, has had target adoptee demographics in each annual Public Service Advertisement (PSA). This has since resulted to over 218,000 inquiries and more than 22,000 children have been adopted with over $346 million earned in donations and media support (AdCouncil, 2013). Previous PSA’s specific annual demographic focus included Pre-teens, Spanish language, African-American, Sibling groups and Children 8 and older. Thus the recorded success of this campaign does not include the teen demographic – which is most affected – creating a need for this year’s campaign to focus on teens in foster homes. The teens in foster care need the opportunity to reach their full potential and grow through the loving and stable foundation of an adoptive family in this critical period of their lives.

Target Audience

Aside from the general public, the main target of this campaign are prospective parents who are considering adopting from foster care, but who have not yet started the adoption process (AdCouncil, 2013). This target is selected so as to reduce the duration between when ‘prospective parents’ make the decision of adopting and when they engage in the actual adoption process. Lack of proper ready information on the adoption process and related topics creates ‘cold feet’ among prospective parents making the duration longer thus reduced adoption rates. This campaign works against this misinformation and lack of it, by directing prospective parents to the best source of such necessary information – AdoptUSKids.

Desired Behavior (SAMHSA, 2016)

Behavior objective – To increase the adoption rates for teenagers in foster homes in America.

Information objective To ensure the availability of easily accessible relevant information on adoption, necessary to influence a positive attitude towards adoption.

Belief objective – The main goal of this campaign is to reassure prospective parents that even if they are not ‘perfect’, they can provide the needed stability and security for the children in foster care, in a humorous angle.

Goal objective – The overall goal is to reduce the duration between when parents make the decision to adopt and when they actually begin the adoption process, thus increasing the adoption rate especially for our target demographic – the teens in foster care.

Audience Insights

The main reason for low adoption rates especially for teens is misinformation that leads ‘prospective parents’ to doubt whether they can be the ‘perfect’ parent for the teens in foster homes. This is addressed humorously through the “Oh, Parent” Tumblr blog, which contains hilarious and unexpected first-hand parents’ experiences with their children, to lower the “perfect parent” expectations. Lack of the relevant information necessary to facilitate the adoption process among prospective parents also leads to lower adoption rates for teens in the US. The best source of such information – AdoptUSKids, is marketed through this campaign. These form the barriers towards the desired behavior and some solutions through the campaign. The campaign enables the prospective parents to understand the adoption process and reassure them that even if they are not ‘perfect’, they can provide the needed stability and security for the children in foster care. This therefore offers the benefits of reducing the period between adoption decision and actual adoption to them. The non-cash cost of information is lowered to those who need it the most – ‘prospective parents’.


The integration of the four Ps: Product, Place, Price and Promotion; for the campaign, does not maximize its goals. The ‘product’ – the teens in foster care, is not directly linked to the campaign strategy as the benefits from this campaign are of a general nature, increasing the overall adoption rates in US. There is expected reduced cashless cost of the relevant adoption information but this benefit cannot be appropriated to the target market. Promotion efforts include Public Service Advertisements on several platforms in partnership with AdChoice. These platforms however, do not single out the target market; special events incorporating the target population may prove to be more effective. This should thus result to physical locations being the main marketing ‘place’ for the special events option (MORE DETAIL, 2016).


Strengths of this social marketing approach

  • Provision of fast costless relevant information to the target market through the best source – AdoptUSKids.
  • The partnership between the US Department of health, AdChoice and AdoptUSKids guarantees the furthest reach of this campaign within the US.
  • The blog has facilitated communication of first hand humorous parent-children interaction which results to lower expectations of a ‘perfect parent’ to our target market.

Weaknesses of this social marketing approach

  • The campaign is not centered on its main subject – the teens in foster care; resulting into objectives across the general adoptee population demographics being realized.
  • The promotion efforts using PSAs is of a general nature and does not therefore single-out the ‘target market’ for our promotional; efforts. Special events involving the target market may be better placed to convey the information to the specific target.
  • The new TV, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs direct audiences to visit are not specific for either the target market or the ’product’ (AdoptUSKids, 2016).

Critical Commentary

This social marketing approach aims to increase the adoption rates for teens in foster homes, which is the lowest among the adoptee population. The information provided on AdoptUSKids and the “Oh, Parent” Tumblr blog is open to contributions on general parent-children issues and information that is of a general nature and not about teens in foster homes. It however, is not centered on its selected “product” considering the actual expected outcome from the approach is overall increase in adoption rates across the adoptee population.

The channels – TV, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs direct audiences; to be used for this social marketing approach and the selected method – Public Service Advertisements; are very general in nature and does not target its target market. There is lack of an understanding of the target market and the most effective communication channels to effectively reach the specific market. Physical locations with events involving ‘prospective parents’, may serve as better platforms.

The main belief objective of the approach is to change the perspective in prospective parents about the standards of a ‘perfect parent’. This however may work against the relevant standards set for ‘prospective parents’, thus increasing cases of adoption returns and escapes back to foster homes due to ‘poor parenting practices’.


AdCouncil. (2013). Adoption from Foster Care (2013). Retrieved on 24th October 2016 from,

Dorn, J. (2012). ‘You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent’ to Adopt a Teen from Foster Care. Retrieved on 24th October 2016 from,

AdoptUSKids. (2016). Home. Retrieved on 24th October 2016 from,

MORE DETAIL. (2016). The 4 P’s of Social Marketing. Retrieved on 24th October 2016 from,

SAMHSA. (2016). Ten Steps for Developing a Social Marketing Campaign. Retrieved on 24th October 2016 from,

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