The Heart Galleries of Texas is pleased to announce that for the first time ever, all 11 child welfare regions in Texas now has a Heart Gallery, opening new opportunities for 6,000 children in the Texas foster care system awaiting adoption.
Heart Gallery programs use exhibits, portraits and media to introduce communities to children in foster care who want to be adopted. Heart Gallery programs especially seek to facilitate connections with potential adoptive families for children who typically have to wait longer for adoptions, such as older youth, sibling groups and/or children with higher medical needs.
“The fact that we now have a Heart Gallery program in every region is a huge accomplishment,” said Kori Gough, director of the Heart Galleries of Texas. “Prior to funding through the Heart Galleries of Texas, some regions had no programming to help children wanting to be adopted. Other regions had programming with little financial support to meet the needs of children in that area.”
Heart Gallery programs play a critical role in helping youth in foster care connect with potential families, especially at the local level. The expansion is supported by funding from the Texas Legislature to increase the number of programs and consistency between programs.
“We are so grateful to have the resources necessary to help connect our community to children wanting to be adopted,” said Jennifer Kremer-Oliva, director of the Heart Gallery of South Texas. “This is the first time that we have been able to have an organized effort to increase adoption opportunities for our teens, sibling groups and children with special medical needs. Our hope is to engage our community to understand and support all children in foster care waiting for adoption.”
The Heart Galleries of Texas is housed within the Steve Hicks School of Social Work in collaboration with the Texas Center for Child and Family Studies. The Texas Women’s Commission, Office of the Speaker and Office of the First Lady have been strong supporters of the expansion of Heart Gallery programs.
“We were inspired by the success of the heart gallery model in central Texas and set out to replicate its achievements statewide,” said Nathali Parker Weisman, Chair of the Texas Women’s Commission.
“Today, we are thrilled to see how quickly this milestone was reached with programs now established in every corner of the state.”
“The Heart Galleries of Texas is dedicated to enhancing communication with local foster care professionals, a crucial step in the ongoing commitment to improve adoption outcomes. We look forward to the lasting positive impact on adoption outcomes for children and families across the state.”First Lady Cecilia Abbott