You don't have to raise
a foster child
to raise him up.
You just have to raise
your hand and
say you'll help.
Join the volunteers across Oregon who are helping give Oregon children a better future. Learn about volunteer opportunities in your community.
Express your views, find out about events, read success stories and learn about efforts to reduce the need for foster care.
Campaign sheds light on issues and tells citizens, 'We need your help'
A powerful multimedia campaign is shedding light on the challenges of children in foster care – and what the public can do to help. Oregon's Raise Me Up campaign began in March, 2011, with a dramatic call to action via television advertisements funded by Casey Family Programs. It continues today with an aggressive Internet marketing and social media campaign that challenges individuals to take up the cause of reducing the number of children in foster care.
While foster care is an essential element of the state's system for keeping children safe, keeping more children safe in their own homes is the ultimate goal of the campaign that's backed by the Oregon Commission on Children and Families, Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Judicial Department. The ads highlight the plight too many foster children face if they are unable to find a safe, loving and permanent family. Ultimately, that means higher rates of homelessness, incarceration, mental illness and other challenges than the general population. Only by harnessing the vast potential of people who want to serve – by fostering or adopting children, by volunteering to serve youth or by raising awareness about foster care in their community – can the agencies reduce the need for foster care and improve the lives of children in care.
"Children are in foster care because they can't be safe at home. Because of the trauma they have experienced in their lives, these children need love, stability and hope," said Erinn Kelley-Siel, director of DHS. "Every day, child welfare workers dedicate themselves to serving children who have experienced unimaginable difficulties. But to truly raise these children up, and reduce the need for foster care in the first place, we need your help."
"Our community services are vital to the needs of the most vulnerable kids in Oregon, and volunteers are crucial providers of care and support," said Mickey Lansing, executive director of the OCCF.
For its part, Casey Family Programs seeks to reduce the number of children in the American foster care system by half over the next 12 years and reinvest the savings to strengthen families and improve child welfare and improve education, employment and mental health services for children in foster care.
Those moved to action by the ads can visit www.raisemeup.oregon.gov/ to learn how they can support children and struggling families in their community. They can also go to www.facebook.com/Raisemeuporegon to join in the conversation about this effort, learn about related community events and find out what communities throughout the state are doing to safely and equitably reduce the number of children in foster care.
“People want to make a difference in the lives of foster children, but it can be daunting to know where to start,'' said Leola McKenzie, director of Juvenile Court Programs for the Oregon Judicial Department. "The campaign shows people how they can get involved.”
As the campaign slogan says: “You don't have to raise a foster child to raise him up. You just have to raise your hand and say you'll help.”