CAYUGA, Ind. (WTHI) - A compelling exhibit featuring photographic portraits of children in need of adoptive families, the Indiana Heart Gallery , is stopping for one day only on Saturday, May 12, at the Lions Club, 204 E. Curtis Street in Cayuga. The Indiana Department of Child Services uses the Heart Gallery to help raise awareness about the approximately 300 Hoosier children currently in foster care still in need of a forever home.
"All children want a home filled with love and a family with whom they can share their birthdays and celebrate holidays. They want a room with their own toys, to have friends, play sports and participate in after-school activities. Most importantly, they want a loving, supportive family to be there for them as they grow up," noted DCS Director James Payne. "The children featured in the Heart Gallery are no exception. They just need a little help from all of us in finding that forever family."
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 and deserve families that will give them unconditional love.
About 408,000 children live 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, approximately 20,000 young people will leave the foster care system without lifelong families—most 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 need and 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 at the Lions Club, 204 E. Curtis Street in Cayuga. Viewing will be one day only, Saturday, May 12, from noon to 7 pm. There is no charge to see the 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 or to host a Gallery, call 888.25ADOPT.
About Indiana Heart Gallery:
Indiana's Heart Gallery is a traveling photographic exhibit the Indiana Dept. of Child Services created in 2007 to help find forever families for children in foster care. The Gallery can feature more than 40 portraits, depending on the size of the exhibit area. It travels to various public exhibition spaces across the State over 50 times annually. Venues generally include hospitals, libraries, museums and churches. There are more than 120 Heart Galleries across the United States and the exhibits have resulted in 5,000 children around the country finding adoptive families. A record 1,787 Hoosier foster kids found forever homes in 2011, in part because of the Indiana Heart Gallery.
About Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS):
DCS 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. If safety continues to be a concern, relative or foster care placements are necessary. DCS also oversees adoptions from the foster care system and manages the Child Support Bureau. The Kids First Trust Fund, supported by the sale of ‘Kids First' specialty automobile license plates, subsidizes programs designed to prevent child abuse and neglect. Indiana Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline: 800.800.5556. www.in.gov/dcs .
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