Instant Family, a film about the ups and downs of becoming foster parents starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, hit theaters in November and brought with it a wave of interest in foster care throughout the U.S.
The comedy, which features Wahlberg and Byrne as a couple who decide to foster a teenage girl and her two younger siblings with the intention of adopting, presented an interesting recruitment opportunity for foster care agencies – and at a time when many states are dealing with a shortage of foster parents and an increase of children in care.
With moviegoers getting a glimpse into the lives of foster parents and the children who need them, recruiters in Ohio, North Carolina and New Jersey have set up shop at movie theaters to talk with prospective parents and answer any questions they may have.
According to the Tribune Chronicle in Ohio:
“Trumbull County Children Services officials hosted a special caregivers night Wednesday at Regal Cinema in Niles, which is showing the movie “Instant Family” — a comedy-drama about foster care.
Megan Martin, senior supervisor for foster care and adoption, said the meet-and-greet event was held for prospective foster parents to present them with information on programs as well provide an early screening of the movie.
She said about 50 Trumbull County residents interested in fostering and adopting attended. This is the first time the agency has held such an event at a movie theater, but noted the film relates to what services they provide to families.”
Interest in fostering is important in Ohio where there are almost 16,000 kids in care. The same can also be said about North Carolina, which has more than 10,500 children in care.
After hosting a recruiting event at Regal Cinemas in Gastonia, the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services said more adults have expressed interest in becoming foster parents after seeing Instant Family, according to the Gaston Gazette.
“According to Julie Murphy, a licensing supervisor with Health and Human Services, the majority of individuals who attended the screening took applications.
“We had a great response and have continued to get phone calls daily as a result of the event,” she said.”
The movie is based loosely on writer-director Sean Anders’ life after he fostered (and adopted) three kids.
“I think the message of the movie is: no matter what, love first,” his wife, Beth Anders, told The Columbian. “They need parents, and we’re here.”
To learn more about the film, Instant Family, click here.