Los Angeles launches program to recruit LGBTQ foster parents (VIDEO)

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and facing a shortfall of foster parents, Los Angeles County is sponsoring a campaign to recruit LGBTQ parents.

The campaign, in conjunction with RaiseAChild.org, consists of seminars, media, and even street signage reaching out to gay and LGBTQ couples to consider foster parenting.

RaiseAChild.org was founded by Rich Valenza, and according to the organization's website, he is "the father of two children adopted through Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services." It goes on to say "Rich understands firsthand the trials and tribulations of LGBT community members and of single parents who seek to build families...he brings the knowledge gained from serving five years as a board member and three years as the president of The Pop Luck Club, which promotes the well-being of gay prospective parents, gay parents, and their children."

RaiseAChild.org has a number of business and civic leaders on its board of directors, including a producer of The Jimmy Kimmel Show.

As part of its campaign, RaiseAChild.org produced several videos highlighting gay foster parents. This video, featuring Jamison Hebert and comedian Alec Mapa, is promoted under the hashtag #ReimagineFosterParents.

Los Angeles County, as a sponsor of Raise A Child, paid to hang these banners on streetlight poles, many featuring an LGBTQ foster couple.

On their website, FosterLAKids.com, the LA County Department of Children and Family Resources states "We welcome and need all families – regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital or domestic partnership status, physical characteristics, national origin, medical status or disability status – to help us fulfill this mission."

The Department of Children and Family Resources also utilizes a Facebook page titled "Foster Care and Adoption Recruitment of LA County" that works to promote foster parenting. On the Facebook page, they include much of the "Raise A Child" material the group has produced. They also recently posted this photo of the "Raise A Child Honors," which gives awards to LGBTQ couples who adopt or foster parent.

Valenza states that the outreach will include radio, television, print, and social media, and over 350 streetlight pole banners.

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