TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – May 3, 2011 -
The Heart Gallery, a photo exhibit, could change some of these children lives forever, helping them find permanent homes.
Each of the 50 children photographed is up for adoption and chooses to be a part of the program, eagerly looking for a family.
The photos capture each child's spirit and allows the children to advocate on their own behalf.
Matthew Straeb with the Heart Gallery says."Many of the children are sibling groups. many of the children are older or maybe physically or mentally challenged. We've found that the heart gallery increase their chances for adoption by about 20%"
The exhibit will be in Tallahassee until June 30. Organizers say by the end of the tour, 40 percent of the children have found homes.
During the months when families celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, portraits of 50 children in foster care whose greatest wish is to be part of an adoptive family are on display in Florida’s Capitol.
The Florida Association of Heart Galleries today opened a photo exhibit of children in foster care available for adoption throughout the state. The exhibit on the Capitol’s 22nd floor was unveiled at an 11 a.m. news conference that included adoptive families, followed by an 11:30 a.m. reception. Children’s photos also are on display in the Governor’s Office lobby. The Heart Galleries exhibit will continue through June 30. Florida’s legislative leaders have been presented with portraits of children available for adoption in their districts.
“I am honored to showcase photos of Florida children in foster care hoping for an adoptive family.” Governor Rick Scott said. “I encourage all Floridians to consider adopting the wonderful children in foster care searching for a permanent family.”
“Look into the faces of children in foster care available for adoption, and they will capture your heart. These kids are looking for loving Moms and Dads,” Secretary David Wilkins of the Florida Department of Children and Families said. “I hope Floridians visit the Heart Galleries exhibit at the Capitol, support local Heart Gallery displays and decide to experience the joy of adopting these beautiful children.”
About 850 children in foster care are available for adoption on any given day in Florida. So far in 2011, 545 children in foster care have found “forever families” through adoption. Heart Galleries are community-based traveling photographic exhibits showcasing the personalities of children waiting to be adopted from Florida’s foster care system. The Florida Association of Heart Galleries (FLAHG) was launched recently to support the state’s 15 existing Heart Galleries and help establish new Heart Galleries. Hundreds of children in Florida have found adoptive families through Heart Galleries, and Florida has the most Heart Galleries of any state.
“Heart Galleries play a crucial role in locating forever families for our children,” said Matthew Straeb, president of the Florida Association of Heart Galleries and Heart Gallery of Broward. “Florida’s success in increasing adoptions of children in foster care is connected to the growth of Heart Galleries and their effective promotion of remarkable Florida children.”