|"All Children Deserve a Family"|
There are over 410,000 children in foster care in the United States.
Almost 100,000 need adoptive homes right now.
About 25,000 age out of foster care every year, at age 18 without anyone, to live on their own, unprepared and unsupported.
Can you change the life of a waiting child?
Can you adopt? Can you foster? Or maybe you can start a Heart Gallery or volunteer for one?
Source: AFCARS 2015, for fiscal year 2014
What is the Heart Gallery?
The Heart Gallery is a traveling photographic and audio exhibit created to find forever families for children in foster care. The Heart Gallery of America is a collaborative project of over 80 Heart Galleries across the United States designed to increase the number of adoptive families for children needing homes in our community.
Now, in its fifteenth year, the Heart Gallery model is being replicated in many communities across the country. Although many of our children were removed from abusive and neglectful situations, they still have hope. They love to laugh, to learn, and to be with their friends. Most of all, they dream of finding a forever family to be their own.
Photos That Change People's Lives (click below for video)
|Video courtesy of Children's Board Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay|
Join us as we raise money for the Heart Gallery Foundation! You will enjoy an evening of music, photo exhibit, and best of all you can create your own crepe! We give you a list of ingredients and you decide what goes on. 25% of sales will go toward the foundation!
Join the Department of Human Resources, Secretary Sam Malhotra and Janice Goldwater, Founder & Executive Director of Adoptions Together as they host the opening of the Heart Gallery, a portrait exhibit of children residing in Maryland who are in need of adoptive homes. When: Thursday, July 7, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EDT) Where: Maryland Department of Human Resources - 311 West Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
Join them as they talk about fostering our LGBTQ youth! Details Date: July 9 Time: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm Event Categories: Child Welfare Professionals, Families Venue UIC – Student Center 750 S Halsted Chicago, IL 60607 United States
Foster and adoptive families are invited to attend a practical, all-day workshop to help them understand and manage the challenges they may face. Dafna Lender (LCSW) will lead “Building Strong Relationships,” which will help families respond to behavior, attachment, and trauma issues using The Theraplay Institute’s attachment-based parenting techniques. Attendees will participate in discussions, view video demonstrations, and engage in practice sessions. Along the way, they will learn techniques for enhancing children’s self-esteem, redirecting behavior, and strengthening communication. Professionals who attend the workshop can receive 6.5 CEUs.
Write strengths-based child profiles for photo listing on AdoptUSKids and NC Kids using information provided by the child's social worker. Promptly respond to inquiries regarding children available for adoption from the public, approved adoptive families, and social workers. Review approved Pre-Placement Assessments of potential adoptive families to determine their level of congruence with the needs of children that are legally free for adoption and submit possible adoptive families who are potentially matched to the child's social worker. Provide consultation about NC adoption and foster care laws, policies, and procedures to the general public as well as social workers with public and private agencies. Consult about specific cases to determine the best course of action regarding child specific placement and recruitment. Organize and participate in statewide and local diligent recruitment efforts.
Heart Gallery Alabama’s mission is raising awareness, educating the public and finding forever families for children in foster care in Alabama. Heart Gallery fulfills its mission through partnerships with award-winning, professional photographers who donate their time and expertise to capture each child’s individual spirit. Every child needs a loving supportive family to help him become a successful and happy adult. HGA hopes that promoting the adoption of these children will be successful so their dreams of being part of a family can become a reality.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There are a number of children in Alabama's Foster Care System in need of a forever home. Heart Gallery Alabama is a nonprofit organization dedicated to families for those children. Each week in May, WSFA 12 News will feature one of those children. This week, we introduce you to Tonya. She is 15-years-old and loves to read.
I’m standing in the Orlando International Airport with my 14-year-old daughter, waiting for her to board a plane for Indianapolis. She’s heading home while I’m jumping on a flight to Tulsa for my next speaking engagement. She clutches my hand tightly; even at 14 years old, she still holds my hand in public, and it never stops warming my heart. I step to the side as she steps toward the woman taking tickets. As the scanner beeps and the attendant welcomes her, she walks down the jet ramp and disappears. How in the world did she become so grown up, I wonder to myself.
Louisiana Heart Gallery has a list of dates for classes to become foster parents. The need for foster families is great.
Betz found out about Markus by looking at his profile on the South Dakota Heart Gallery. After months of research and conversations with Children's Home Society, Markus came to live with the family in January of 2015. In September, Gwen and Gene Betz made Markus a permanent part of the family when he was adopted.
When we last saw Mathew he was an outgoing 12-year-old with his Bible in tow, and a heart open and ready for adoption. “If I had my pick I would choose a family that really, that really cares. A family that could show me that they care,” said Matthew. Three years later, Mathew is still looking for that family, and is still holding on to hope he’ll find one. “I don’t know. I don’t know but I have faith in finding someone,” Matthew added. Someone who’s kind and loving. “I don’t want my family to be like, mean and grumpy you know, nobody wants that,” Matthew continued. The 15-year-old has a big heart with lots of room for a family, and his passions. He loves to read and write and hopes to author his own book, not when he grows up, but as soon as possible. “Reading is like going into a different world. When you’re creating that world it’s so much more fun,” Matthew continued. Mathew prays someday he’ll be able to create books that others can enjoy while living in a home where he can have his own happy ending. Matthew concluded, “I just keep having faith in God and it gets me through it, you know?”
Most couples expecting a child have nine months to prepare themselves and their homes. But Jay and Jennifer Brown had one day. They had no baby clothes, no crib and no idea they would be taking home a newborn baby so suddenly. The Browns are foster parents in Defiance who in 2012 were planning to adopt their first child, Phillip. The couple had been fostering children for years when they had the opportunity to adopt Phillip when he was a newborn. “But we didn’t know for sure exactly when we would bring him home, so it was a really big shock,” Jay said. “I was calling my brothers from a parking lot to tell them I was a dad and I had the baby in my hands right now.”
Randy Scarff has been a father to many troubled children over the past 40 years. The 70-year-old Glendora resident was one of the first single males in California to adopt a child in the late 1970s. Since that time, he has fostered over 50 boys and adopted seven of them, including two who have severe disabilities. He currently has five boys under his care in Glendora Friday.
The Gateway’s street has become a canvas for artists young and old, and a platform for a message of hope—at least until it rains. The Utah Foster Care Chalk Art Festival brought some color to the Gateway Friday, as artists started work on the creations judged Saturday. The 14th annual event featured 116 different entries from youth and adults. Faith Spencer, eastern region retention service specialist for Utah Foster Care, said the festival is popular among those in the art and foster care communities, as well as the larger community. The murals on cement canvases, depicting everything from saber-tooth tigers to characters from popular movies, provide a jumping-off point for spreading awareness of the need for foster families in addition to showcasing local artistry.
There are a number of children in Alabama's Foster Care System in need of a forever home. Heart Gallery Alabama is a nonprofit organization dedicated to families for those children. Each week we introduce you to a child in Alabama's foster care system who is in need of a forever home. This week we want you to meet David who likes to be called Phillip. Phillip is 14 years old. He enjoys school and says his favorite subject is Math.
Phillip is 14 years old. He enjoys school and says his favorite subject is Math. You can learn more about Phillip at Riverwalk Stadium Friday, June 17th at the Heart Gallery Classic.
A celebratory atmosphere filled the air at Red Robin restaurant as the Greater Hope Foundation recognized several graduates from foster families. Surrounded by family, friends and Greater Hope staff, graduates Cecilia, Isaac, Nevine and Renee opened gifts as cellphones snapped photos and took video during the special lunch at The Mall of Victor Valley in Victorville on Friday. “This is our way of honoring our kids and celebrating their accomplishments as they graduate and start a new chapter in their lives,” said Christina Bender, a spokeswoman for the foster care and adoption agency. “It’s also a great way to thank our families who have poured their lives into these young people.” Each foster parent told the Daily Press they were proud of their graduate and excited to see how much they have progressed in their academic studies. Greater Hope Director of Operations Reako Davis and her team were all smiles as the surprised graduates discovered they were given laptops, cash, cards and a personally inscribed jewelry piece.
The 2016 graduating class from the school of hard knocks stood on stage at the Disney Concert Hall last week to be honored with college scholarships for completing the first leg of a long, tough journey they’ve been on. They are 175 foster care kids who have beaten every obstacle put in their path and succeeded beyond all expectations. They have shown the courage and they have the dreams. Now, it’s time to pursue them. They’ve all graduated from different high schools throughout Los Angeles County, and many were meeting for the first time, but they treated each other like old friends.
Baylee, born August 2002, longs to have a mother who will love her. She enjoys learning new things. Her favorite activities are going to the movies, shopping, and playing. She has a twin brother and a younger brother who are in an adoptive placement. She is athletic and enjoys softball and skating. She does well in school. Her favorite food is Mac ‘n Cheese and her favorite restaurant is Golden Corral. She has been working really hard to improve her behavior so that she can be adopted into a loving and supportive home.
The Heart Gallery is a unique photography exhibit designed to raise awareness of children who are waiting to be adopted. The traveling exhibit features Lubbock and area children who desire nothing more in life than to find a loving family and a “forever home”. It is our hope that these inspirational portraits will encourage people to look into the magical eyes of these children and become involved by adopting or fostering. Click here to check it out!
The number of kids in state-sponsored out-of-home care pushed upward in the past six months, a report from the state Foster Care Review Office shows. One of the most significant factors in the trend has been an increase in parental substance abuse, said Doug Weinberg, director of the Division of Children and Family Services. A case in point: Lancaster County Sheriff's deputies arrested five people in February in a car with about four pounds of methamphetamine and eight pounds of heroin near Northwest 48th and West O streets. All five were cited for suspicion of child abuse and neglect because a 1-year-old child of two of the suspects was in the car. The toddler was placed with the Department of Health and Human Services and, according to court documents, is in foster care. In 2014, the percentage of foster care cases that involved parental substance abuse was about 25 percent, Weinberg said. In 2015, that increased to 33.6 percent. And it appears the trend is continuing this year, Weinberg said.
Welcoming a foster child into your home is not always easy–in fact, it is almost never easy.This is likely the worst day of the child’s life. No one is at their best when they are scared and confused. These first days are crucial for the child and for your family. The whole family is impacted by the addition of a foster child. For the children already in your home, making room for a new and frightened child is an adjustment. Heck, for that matter, it’s an adjustment for the adults in the home regardless how well they have been prepared and how ready they think they are.
The executive director of Heart Gallery Alabama, Michelle Bearman-Wolnek, said, "What the Heart Gallery is really doing is trying to find adoptive homes for children that are already in somebody's foster home, or, they may be in a group home, or, in a facility somewhere in the state that does not have an identified family. We're trying to find them a family." Pictures and videos of children and young people in foster homes in Alabama are featured in travelling exhibits, like one that will be on display at Hank Aaron Stadium at Friday night's Mobile Baybears game. Prospective parents can then go to the Heart Gallery website.
The Indiana Heart Gallery, a traveling exhibit featuring compelling portraits of children in need of adoptive families, is stopping in Greensburg June 10-20. The gallery will be featured at the Decatur County Family YMCA, which is open weekdays from 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. The Indiana Department of Child Services uses the gallery’s remarkable professional portraits and stories about foster children in Indiana to help put a face on a sometimes invisible need and remind families that adoption can change lives. There is no charge to see the gallery.
Jim and Sarah Koning adopted two children. One of them is named Danielle. She's 5 years old and is big into Disney princesses. So, to make her adoption day even more special, Judge Patricla Gardner took off her robe and revealed she was dressed up as Snow White. Then, before the proceedings began, all the rest of the Disney princesses, and Prince Charming, dressed in costumes, entered the courtroom to support Danielle and her adoption.
Under the rule announced Wednesday by the Interior Department, judges also must ask about a child’s status as a tribal member during hearings to determine whether or not a mother or father’s parental rights will be terminated.
I will now always be aware of the approximately 400,000* kids across America in foster care. Of those, nearly one-quarter of them are ready to be adopted (approximately 101,000*), but only just over half of those will actually adopted (approximately 52,000*). I will never unlearn this. I’m wrecked. I will also always be aware that of those 400,000 previously mentioned, over 23,000* of these child will age out of foster care, meaning they turn eighteen years of age and are no longer required to be in a foster home. But they leave the system failing to officially be attached to a family unit. A longitudinal study of these kids found they, by the age of 26, were half as likely to be employed, just over half as likely to have earned their high school diploma, were nearly ten times as likely to be receiving food stamps (women only), and over seven times as likely to be incarcerated as an adult (men only).** From 2010 until 2014, anywhere from 251,000 to 264,000 children entered foster care…. EACH YEAR!*** I’m wrecked.
“I watched the video six times that morning and cried every time,” said Goslin, who told his wife, Beth, to cancel their work projects for the day. Mick said he camped out on the steps of the Nebraska Children’s Home Society until their doors opened that morning so he could learn more about Jasmine. The girl was featured in a KETV report that helps adoption recruiters locate parents for Nebraska’s foster children.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Heart Gallery Alabama is taking over the Home Run Porch at Regions Field Sunday, June 5 for the annual Heart Gallery Classic. Families can enjoy America’s favorite pastime, food and drink while helping HGA’s mission to find a forever family for each adoptable child in the foster care system.
The state has put out a call for adults with a capacity to love and nurture. The numbers show the need for more foster parents. In 2012, an average of 4,200 Louisiana children were in foster care each month. In 2016, that number has topped 4,700. These are children from troubled homes. In some cases, children of children not emotionally mature enough to be a parent, in other cases children of drug users and those who physically abuse. Many children are abandoned, unloved and unwanted. Others have physical needs beyond the capabilities of the parents. In all cases, they need protection and love. In the Monroe region, which consists of the 12 northeastern Louisiana parishes, there were 623 children in foster care but only 241 foster homes, said Lynne Sanders, the home development supervisor with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. The number of children in need of aid is increasing.
When Tenaja Jordan came out to her parents at 17 years old, they kicked her out of their home. As a teenager, she was still considered a child in the eyes of the state, and was immediately placed into New York City's child welfare system. Following the trauma of the situation, one question remained on Jordan's mind: Where was she going to live?
There are a number of children in Alabama's Foster Care System in need of a forever home. Heart Gallery Alabama is a nonprofit organization dedicated to families for those children. Each week in May, we introduce you to a child in Alabama's foster care system. This week's Heart Gallery Alabama waiting child is Nakeyshia who likes to be called Keyshia. She is 16 years old.
Why do we strive to find a family for every waiting child? Why do we fight, scrap, dig-in, pray, and think about waiting kids every minute? The answer is simple. We believe that every child in foster care has great value; no matter their situation or circumstance, their behaviors, attitudes or actions, their disabilities or special abilities, their history or diagnosis; we believe they are to be esteemed highly.
Nuzhat Jawed is a Muslim woman who moved from Pakistan to Sterling Heights, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. She has two adopted children, both Muslim, and has acted as a foster parent for dozens more, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Dearborn is home to the largest concentration of Muslims in North America, and Jawed is one of only about a dozen Muslim foster parents in the area. Since child welfare agencies don’t typically record religious affiliation of children in foster care, the precise number of Muslim children in care is unknown.
“Just to know that they have a permanent home, they know they’re going to get up and go to school every day, they know there’s going to be food on the table, they know they’re going to have a warm bed to sleep in,” she said.
The notion of adopting a child can come with the illusion of a perfect newborn waiting to be shaped and molded into a model human being. However, the reality is many of the children waiting to be adopted from foster care are teenagers. Across the country, thousands of older kids in care are aging out every year. According to an article written by the National Conference of State Legislatures, youth who age out of foster care often have little to no support and are at a higher risk of ending up on the streets. Thankfully, there are national initiatives that support adopting older children and are working to get older kids in care forever homes.
Heart Gallery NYC makes a positive difference in the lives of children in foster care by utilizing the power of photography to raise awareness of their needs. Working with talented photographers who donate their time to shoot youth in need of adoptive, loving homes, the project has put a face on foster care and found "forever families" for the kids. AdoramaTV would like to give a special thanks to Laurie Sherman Graff, Executive Director of Hearth Gallery NYC for allowing us to document this special day.
Our Summer Camp Fundraiser at Finn’s Harborside is set for Wednesday, July 20th beginning at 6:00pm. Join us for a casual buffet dinner, LIVE music by The Closers, dancing, silent auction and more all while helping us raise finds to help send kids in foster care to a week of summer camp, equipped, as always, with all necessary camp gear! Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased by calling Adoption RI at 401-865-6000 or Finn’s Harborside at 401-884-6363, or online at www.ari-summercamp.eventbrite.com Hope to see you there!
As an adoption social worker, I realize I ask families I work with to do some pretty incredibly difficult things. Caring for children with unknown outcomes. Giving of themselves in ways people outside the adoption world don’t often understand. And, working on themselves in order to prepare to be a parent for a child who may not show them love and affection in the way people dream about when they express a desire to have children. I put families through the intense and intrusive process that is a home study, all to ask them to do even more after the study is finished.
We have found this program beneficial in finding families for our children. We ask that as you view the children, consider that they live in our communities. Respect their right to privacy, and be aware that they may attend school or church, or play at the local park with your children and relatives. The availability of their pictures leaves our children recognizable and vulnerable to negative attention. Although we strive to protect them, we need your help. Thank you!
© 2016 Heart Gallery of America, Inc.