Eight hundred and fifty.
That is the average number of abused and neglected children, just in Hamilton County, who need foster parents each year. With this great a need, county services must rely on private sector resources to provide help and find good homes for these kids.
This year, Lighthouse Youth Services
, one of the private agencies that helps Hamilton County, plans to do something about that stubborn number of children in need. “Be the Somebody,” its new foster parent recruitment campaign, is quite different from recruitment campaigns of the past. Led by Lighthouse board member Lisa O’Brien, the campaign is directed by multiple committees and uses best-in-the-business research, marketing and branding resources to not only attract potential foster parents but to also streamline the foster care licensing process and increase support for current foster families.
Noticing that board committee work has been pivotal to the success of Lighthouse fundraisers, O’Brien approached the board with the idea of a foster family recruitment campaign based on the same platform. Five committees now direct different elements of the campaign, from an “Everything after the Call” committee, which helps lead new recruits through a more cohesive learning and licensing process, to social and traditional media and creative marketing committees that pair appropriate business strategies with foster family and employee recruitment and retention issues.
“Our best marketing resources are our foster parents and our employees,” says Jamie Clark, program director at Lighthouse Foster Care. “We’re learning how to incentivize our program.”
Lighthouse is also learning how to use every supporter in the committee process. “We developed a recruitment committee consisting of past board members who had institutional knowledge and past foster parents,” as well as those with business and leadership skills, says Clark. As the Lighthouse board took control of the mission, prioritized and delegated responsibilities, “Be the Somebody” took off. That it is poised to succeed is a testimony to committee work and the power of collected intelligence and experience, and a reminder that it, indeed, “takes a village.”
: Be the Somebody’s new website to learn more about the campaign and for information on a foster parent open house in early June.
• Consider: fostering a child yourself. To speak to someone about this opportunity to help and to grow, call Lighthouse Foster Care at 513-487-7135.
By Becky Johnson