Take This Heart

A long-term campaign to build public will, the Foster Care Project was developed in association with the one hour documentary, Take This Heart, produced by KCTS/Seattle. The national community and educational outreach campaign was made possible by grants from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Casey Family Program and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) was the national community outreach partner. Strategically designed and implemented by Outreach Extensions, the project extended from November 1996 through May 1998.

  • Public television stations in communities across America were invited to participate in the outreach campaign to build awareness about foster care and mobilize communities to take action to improve the lives of children in foster care.
    • Five public television stations received Community Service Action Grants. Their local campaigns were distinguished by: intensive collaboration with a community partner and a coalition of other local groups serving youth in foster care and their families, a community assessment process resulting in an action plan, implementation efforts to achieve specific outcomes, and an outcome evaluation.
    • Thirty public television stations received Incentive Grants to conduct outreach activities within their local communities in coordination with agencies and organizations involved in foster care, and utilizing campaign materials.
  • Important campaign resources included the Web site, housed on the KidsCampaigns site published by the Benton Foundation; The Foster Care Project Toolbox; and the Take This Heart Community Foster Care Packet, including a 20-minute videotape and discussion guide. In addition, a “how you can help” brochure was developed, which all stations could customize for local distribution.
  • External evaluation of the five Community Service Action Grants documented increased recognition of public television as a viable and available tool to educate and effectively address the social needs of communities; an increase in public awareness of needs related to foster care; an increase in public awareness of creative and available opportunities to involve individuals, families, communities and organizations in positively affecting the lives of children, youth and families in foster care; and sustained relationships formed between community agencies and public television stations that will insure continuation of many activities beyond the life of the project.
  • A significant project outcome was that, in large measure, the campaign and film led to federal legislation that extended benefits to foster families so they could continue to assist youth aging out of foster care.