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Kim Johnson ReportingTomorrow a new media advertising campaign will hit the airwaves aimed at recruiting new foster care families. The message is forthright: that being foster parents isn't easy -- there will be challenges, but there can also be a payoff that's worth it.
Commercial: "’Just leave me alone I don't need you.’ Children in foster care aren't always able to tell you how they really feel.’ I won't do that. You can't make me.’ But if you show the commitment and let them know you care… ‘I love you’, the rewards can be immeasurable."
David and Maryanne McFarland know this message well. They've lived it several times.
Maryanne McFarland, Foster Parent: “The spot with the teenager does mirror a lot of what goes on with the teenage girls that we have because they can't always, their verbalization isn't the same. But we see a lot of that and as they get more and more comfortable in our home things do turn around."
The McFarlands have cared for numerous foster kids because they find helping stressed out families rewarding.
David McFarland, Foster Parent: “They just need a break, to reorganize to think things through, so they can reunite. And that's a good feeling, to know you've made a difference."
They've adopted some foster children as their own. Most they've returned to their biological families. Maryanne says every single one stays in touch.
Maryanne McFarland: “It’s really rewarding to have them come back a couple of years later, and show up just before Christmas. They're in town, they want to see us, to tell us what's going on in their lives. And it’s rewarding to know we were a part of that life."
John Kiechle talked with several foster care families, in the process of producing these new ads.
John Kiechle, Boede & Partners: “And we asked, ‘Why would you do it? Why would you become a foster parent?’ And they simply said, ‘Because you can.’ And that was actually one of the lines we used in the commercial. It was inspirational to us that way.”
Right now Utah has about 1,100 foster families and roughly 2000 children in foster care at any given time. The people at the foster care foundation are hoping these ads will persuade a few hundred more families to sign up.