2016 Civic Engagement Project: Bringing Awareness to Foster Care
Palm Beach County needs many more families to provide foster care for children. But the problem is, many people don’t know what foster care is or how it works or what agency runs it?
And so, a group of 2016 LPBC Engage class members took on the task of educating the public about foster care as part of their civic engagement project with ChildNet.
The team created a video (click here to watch it) and a social media strategy to share it and other facts about foster care.
One of the project leaders, Sarah H. Marmion, explains how her team went about filling the gap in understanding foster care, and what all of us can do to educate others about the importance of helping children in foster care.
1) Explain your project.
Our team was tasked to increase awareness of the extreme need for foster families in Palm Beach County. ChildNet was our client and we worked closely with this organization which serves as the umbrella agency for child welfare in our county. Over the course of our project, we educated ourselves on the topic of foster care and we validated how many different opinions and feelings that people have about foster children and about the system in general via a social media survey. We also worked with the IdeaBar to develop a common strategy and to shape our tactics. Through the process, we learned that there is a huge gap in understanding about foster care and, this in turn provided us with an opportunity to educate the public. We created a short video featuring a variety of people who could serve as parents juxtaposed with the startling statistics illustrating the strong need in our community for caring people to step up.
2) Why is your project important in our community?
Children need families to survive and thrive. While many foster children grow up and turn into responsible human beings, many others suffer for the rest of their adult lives due to the abuse, neglect or abandonment they experienced as children. Fostering does not have to last forever, in fact the goal of fostering is to reunite children with their biological families – what a worthy goal.
3) What can the LPBC community do to support your project in the future?
Pick up where our team left off and carry the torch. Look at what we did and make it better, create a different video and push it to new audiences. Spread the word. Be leaders and help our community take care of children who need stability and unconditional love.
Sarah H. Marmion, a member of 2016 LPBC Engage class, is a manager at Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center.