|"All Children Deserve a Family"|
There are over 425,000 children in foster care in the United States.
Over 100,000 need adoptive homes right now.
About 20,000 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?
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|
Are you interested in becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer? The Washoe CASA Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a voice for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. CASAs—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes.
For the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations, foster care comes down to: ‘children are sacred, and their care is a shared responsibility’
For Alice Kurtz and her husband, as they entered their 50s and their only child turned 16, they decided to become therapeutic foster parents. A therapeutic foster family provides a safe and compassionate home environment for traumatized children. Therapeutic foster parents take on the role of a behavioral health provider, as they help children learn healthy expression and coping skills. The Kurtz family focuses on helping teenagers who have been bounced throughout foster care homes and group homes.
Yesterday, State Representative Nick Sauer (R-Lake Barrington), Let it Be Us, and the Department of Children and Family Services welcomed foster parents, family members, volunteers and other advocates to the Capitol for a special celebration of Foster Care Month. The event showcased the Let it Be Us Heart Gallery, a unique resource which is assisting case workers and adoption recruiters to find forever families for Illinois’ foster children.
Ashley Williams' ambition to become a lawyer has a lot to do with her experience as a kid in foster care. “I want to be a lawyer because when I grew up in the foster care system, I didn’t have many lawyers who could advocate for me,” Williams said. “I figure I want to help other youth.” Williams said she moved around to 36 foster homes and 26 schools after she entered the system at 10 years old. “Education was just what kept me going,” she said. “I loved being in school.”
To jump into the world of foster-to-adopt, a person must be absolutely fearless, and find within them a certain measure of faithfulness. Faith that this situation will turn out the way it is supposed to, and that I will have the strength to live with the result, no matter what it might be.
Donna and Greg Hart fell in love with their new son after seeing his story on the Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay's website. Anthony has cerebral palsy and has spent most of his five years in this world in foster homes. His special needs didn't scare away his new parents. In fact, they feel like he was supposed to be theirs all along.
Oklahoma’s foster care system has made significant progress over the last five years, but we still have work to do, especially in supporting the great foster parents we already have.
After talking about their options and possible avenues, Lindsey and Joe decided that fostering with the intent do adopt was the route they wanted to take and both had a desire to be a part of that change.
A bill that some say will help foster children is moving to the Texas Senate, but critics of the bill say while helping children in need is a good thing, shutting out foster families that don’t fit a certain profile will be detrimental to the cause.
Dave, single his whole life, was inspired to adopt when watching "Tuesday's Child" but specifically Jose after seeing his Adoption Rhode Island heart gallery portrait.
ASHLAND, Ky. - Chrissy Shamblin does not mind at all when someone remarks that her daughters, 9-year-old Kelly and 6-year-old Kailey, look nothing like her or her husband, Matt. The girls are blond-haired and blue-eyed, while Chrissy and Matt are brown-eyed with darker hair. The way Chrissy sees it, that's a perfect opportunity to discuss one of her favorite topics: adoption.
First Lady of Colorado Robin Hickenlooper and Reggie Bicha, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), today recognized five families from across Colorado for their dedication to Colorado's kids in foster care as part of National Foster Care Month. Nearly 100 people attended the luncheon celebration at the Governor's Mansion. "This is one of my favorite days of the year," Bicha said. "We often hear of the seemingly heroic experiences of foster parents and we wonder: 'Could I do that?' The truth is, the five families we recognize today are ordinary Coloradans who have answered the call and stepped up to care for children and youth who need a safe and loving place to live while their parents receive support and learn the skills they need to build a stable home."
SAN ANTONIO - When the state steps in to remove children from a home, its ultimate goal is to eventually reunite the kids with their families, but when that is not possible the kids are made available for adoption. According to data provided by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, over the past six years an average of more than 1,370 foster kids per year were waiting to be adopted by a forever family in the San Antonio area. See something, say something: Resources for reporting abuse and getting help Four years ago, Stephen and Shannon Ivey became foster parents with the hope of adopting a child. Within hours of being notified by the state they were approved to foster children in their home, they had their first foster child delivered to their doorstep by a caseworker for Child Protective Services.
More than 400,000 children live in foster care nationwide. "They're sitting in foster homes, and they do not have a mom and dad, and we'd like to help them get adopted," says Steve Brown, Indiana Heart Gallery Facilitator. 20,000 in Indiana still need foster homes. The Heart Gallery is a traveling photo exhibit that takes the issue one step further. It showcases children available for adoption. "These children all want to be adopted. If they're old enough they've expressed it, a desire to be adopted. They don't really care how it happens. They just want it to happen," says Brown.
There is a growing crisis in Washington’s foster care system. There are currently more children entering foster care than the present number of foster homes can handle and the need for more homes is urgent. Sadly, due to the shortage of homes, many of the children from Douglas County end up being moved to other counties in the state — this can seem like light years away from everything familiar to a child. (The outcomes for children in foster care are much better when they are maintained in their home community.) In some areas of the state, children as young as 2 years old have had to be supervised by social workers in hotel rooms overnight because there was no foster placement available.
A family of three in Georgia became a family of 10 when they adopted seven siblings who spent nearly their entire lives in foster care. Josh and Jessaka Clark, of Rincon, are now not just the parents of their 3-year-old son, Noah, but also Maria, 14, Elizabet, 11, Guillermo, 10, Jason, 8, Kristina, 7, Katerin, 7, and James, 5. “It was full of emotion,” Jessaka Clark, 25, told ABC News of Tuesday’s adoption ceremony. “Honestly it’s still surreal to me.”
More teenagers in South Carolina can be licensed to drive with a bill signed into law Monday morning. Governor Henry McMaster signed his name to the bill that allows for children under foster care to get driver’s permits and licenses, with the signature of their foster parent.
After decades of disproportionate placement of Native American children into foster care and inconsistent application of ICWA by states, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) last year published new regulations and guidelines to help states consistently apply the law and provide best practices for reunifying an Indian child with his or her family and keeping him or her connected with family, culture and community.
More than 12,000 children in North Carolina are wards of the state — up about 25 percent over the past five years, Sen. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, told Carolina Journal. No one can explain the spike, and state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working toward an answer.
Grand Valley State University is joining other higher education institutions in Michigan in efforts to increase the success rate of foster care students by providing greater support.
Two new Indiana laws make life a little easier for foster children. Barriers have been removed for obtaining a driver’s license and obtaining healthcare.
"The Heart Gallery makes a huge impact on these children’s lives,” explained DCF's Jacqueline Ford. "It really gives them an opportunity to shine and to show who they really are and what dynamic wonderful kids they are.”
The state says there's a continued need for foster homes in Maine as more children come into state custody because of parental substance abuse. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew says there's a particular need for foster families who support reunification as well as those caring for teens, sibling groups and youth with special needs.
Saturday at War Memorial Stadium, families "Walked for the Waiting," raising awareness for three non-profit organizations that are working to make a difference every day in the lives of waiting children.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a pilot program to ensure that students in foster care have transportation to their so-called “school of origin.”
Parents seeking to adopt children in Texas could soon be rejected by state-funded or private agencies with religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples. That's the potential effect of a bill in the state House. It had been set for debate Saturday, but the chamber bogged down with other matters, meaning it may now come up next week.
“Oftentimes, these children transport what little they have in garbage bags,” Hubbard said. “It was an image that just weighed, weighed and weighed on my mind. To the extent of replacing garbage bags with duffel bags — we wanted to do that. We set a goal of 500. We brought 879 out of a workforce of 406 people.”
Daniel S. Dumas will begin his new job as a special adviser to Gov. Matt Bevin on June 19. His contract calls for him to assess a state system that has more than 8,000 children in out-of-home care and yet consistently has not met federal standards on preventing abuse and neglect.
Of the 64,000 children in the foster care system in California, less than three percent are in the adoption phase. This year, the system is undergoing changes that may help more kids find a stable home life.
There are hundreds of children in the Bay Area who are waiting to be adopted. And a local organization is giving these kids a face, a voice, and a place to shine. "These are kids that have been abused, neglected, abandoned -- but through no fault of their own. And they are in the Heart Gallery because they deeply desire a family. They still have hope. They're really great kids, they're wonderful kids," said the Children's Board Heart Gallery of Tampa's Jesse Miller.
Click for Connecticut locations that highlight the full gallery or a portion of the gallery. The most updated pictures and stories can be found on our website. The Department is very appreciative of our community partners who help us highlight our children. If any business is interested in hosting the Heart Gallery, please contact Jacqueline Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK — For legions of Americans craving a chance to adopt children, a confluence of daunting trends makes this an especially distressing time. The overall number of U.S. adoptions has dropped significantly in recent years, straining the viability of many adoption agencies and drawing some into conduct that authorities describe as unethical. Would-be adoptive parents confront the specter of long waiting times and high fees. And many face pressure to spend lavishly on self-promotional advertising if they want to compete for a chance to adopt an infant. Chuck Johnson, CEO of the National Council for Adoption, estimates that 1 million families are trying to adopt at any given time. "No matter where they go, unless they're super lucky, they're going to be in for a long wait," Johnson said. "They're going to be in a slow, painful process for foster care or in this massive competition for the limited number of healthy infants — and that's where the situation is ripe for fraud. There are so many families who want to adopt, and so few options for them."
Matthew is a twelve-year-old boy of Hispanic descent who enjoys playing video games and playing outside. Matthew is a sports enthusiast and enjoys watching and playing all different types of sports. Everyone who knows Matthew says that he is very active. Matthew is currently residing in a residential program and he attends school on-site. Matthew recently made the honor roll for the first time and was very proud of himself! Matthew’s social worker is also very proud of Matthew and all the progress he has made. It costs little or nothing to adopt a child from foster care. Unlike international or private adoptions, there is no adoption agency fee. There are also a number of free post-adoption support services available to families statewide, including support groups and respite care.
The gala committee honored Ruechel for his tireless efforts to help foster care children living in the Bay area. Ruechel was honored Thursday night during an Heart Gallery event at Tropicana Field. The mission of the Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco is to increase the number of successful adoptions of local children in foster care. In addition to featuring children, we recruit and support families interested in adoption.
On this episode of In Focus, we look at the foster care system in Arizona, specifically for those in the system over the age of 18. Although foster children can leave the foster care system when they turn 18, they can sign a voluntary agreement to continue until they turn 21. Why might some teens decide stay? We talk with one young woman who explains her choice. Across the United States, the total number of children in foster care has decreased by 80,000 since 2006, and most states have followed this downward trend. Arizona is one of 14 states that saw an increase the number of children in foster care between 2006 and 2015. The number of children in foster care in Arizona has almost doubled since 2006, according to data collected by the federal Administration for Children and Families.
Oregon has approximately 21,000 children who need placement in foster homes, but only 1,800 foster homes, said state Rep. Andy Olson, during a community meeting in downtown Albany on Thursday night. “You can see the problem there,” he added. The meeting, held at the Flinn Block Hall, was focused on problems in the foster care system, and about 40 people attended. Olson urged residents to recruit potential foster parents who could provide loving homes for children. Wendy Brownell, former president of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Linn County, wondered why people were no longer interested in being foster parents.
A bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies in Alabama the freedom to refuse applications based on religious beliefs and convictions is on its way to being signed by Gov. Kay Ivey. HB24, a bill allowing adoption and foster care agencies to follow faith-based principles when it comes to placing children under the care of aspiring parents, has been passed by state lawmakers and is making its way to Gov. Ivey's desk, AL.com reported. The bill was unanimously passed by the Alabama House of Representatives by a vote of 87-0. Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa), one of the sponsors of the "Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act", said that some adoption agencies around the country have been forced to place children in homes even if these homes go against their religious beliefs and convictions.
There are lots of agencies, including Heart Gallery of America, that list children who are waiting for a family. These lists are primarily intended for parents who have completed their home study and are looking for a child to adopt. In all cases, the child's primary social worker has given the listing agency permission to list the child as available for adoption. In almost all cases, you will be given a form or find instructions on how to reach that primary social worker. In most cases, the child has been determined by the courts to be legally free to be adopted, although the listing details vary in some states. If you find any legal listing of children not in our list, please let us know. You can reach me at email@example.com .
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!
© 2017 Heart Gallery of America, Inc.