The Indiana Heart Gallery, a traveling exhibit featuring compelling portraits of children in need of adoptive families, is stopping in Salem. The Gallery will be featured at the Washington County Family YMCA August 4 – 18. The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) uses the Heart Gallery to help bring attention to children in foster care in need of a forever home. Between 75 and 100 Hoosier kids need adoptive homes right now because they were removed from abusive or neglectful situations.
“Every child needs a family they can call their own. We need families that are not only willing to love our children, but are also prepared to commit to them, claim them as their own and hang in there through their ups and downs,” said Sandra Caesar, DCS’ adoption manager. “Today’s foster children will someday be our neighbors and co-workers. The stability and permanency that adoption provides is a critical step in giving these children the best possible chance at success in life.”
Using the talents of professional photographers who volunteer their time, the individual spirit and true personality of each child is captured. Heart Gallery photographs sometimes show shy children wrapped in their security blankets, girls dressed up as princesses, boys hugging dogs and siblings laughing together. The children all have one thing in common: they need families that will give them unconditional love.
Nearly 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States. More than 100,000 are legally available for adoption and in need of adoptive families. Many of these children are older, in sibling groups that want to be adopted together or have special needs.
This year, as many as 20,000 young people will leave the foster care system without lifelong families—many at age 18. On their own, these young adults must navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services such as housing. They deserve caring adults who love and support them. For some foster kids, getting adopted can mean the difference between homelessness or incarceration and transitioning successfully to adulthood.
The Indiana Heart Gallery will display a dozen portraits August 4 – 18 at the Washington County Family YMCA, 1709 North Shelby Street in Salem. Viewing times: Monday - Thursday, 5 am to 9 pm; Fridays, 5 am to 7 pm; Saturdays, 7 am to 5 pm; Sundays, 1 pm to 5 pm. There is no charge to see the Heart Gallery exhibit.
For more information about the Indiana Heart Gallery, go to http://www.in.gov/dcs/3033.htm. To find out more about adopting an Indiana child, go to www.adoptachild.in.gov or call 888.25ADOPT.
About Indiana Heart Gallery:
The Heart Gallery is a traveling photographic exhibit the Indiana Department of Child Services created in 2007 to help find forever families for children in foster care. Venues generally include hospitals, libraries, museums and churches. There are more than 120 Heart Galleries across the U.S. and the exhibits have resulted in over 5,000 children around the country finding adoptive families. With help from the Heart Gallery, more than 1,300 Hoosier foster kids found forever homes in state fiscal year 2013.
About Indiana Department of Child Services:
The Indiana Department of Child Services is committed to protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. The agency's primary goal is to safely keep these children at home with their families by offering appropriate support services. It also manages the child support bureau. Indiana Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline: 800.800.5556. www.in.gov/dcs
Visit the Heart Gallery at the Washington County Family YMCA from August 4 - 18