Children's Voice May/June 2009

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Heart Galleries Recruit Families Across the Country

In 2001, a Santa Fe photographer and adoptive mother approached Diane Granito, who recruited foster and adoptive families for the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Family Department, a CWLA member. Granito ran with the woman's idea, which was to feature children waiting for adoption with portraits that would capture the hearts of potential parents. Local photographers donate time and talent, and different venues offer space to show the photos. In less than a decade, the Heart Gallery concept has gone national, with more than 120 galleries across the country recruiting foster families and finalizing adoptions. A national organization, Heart Gallery of America, offers guidance and support to local efforts.

Heart Gallery Tampa Bay, which featured Dani's picture, is a collaborative project of two CWLA member agencies: the Children's Board of Hillsborough County and Hillsborough Kids, Inc. It was the first Heart Gallery in the nation to use a multimedia approach, with audio messages along with the portraits. Starting the Tampa Bay Heart Gallery increased adoption inquiries in the area by at least half, and the interest around Dani's story spawned even more attention from the public.

The cover art for this issue of Children's Voice is a photo from the Freddie Mac Foundation Heart Gallery, which features children in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. For more information, including links to other state and local galleries, visit the Heart Gallery of America at www.heartgalleryofamerica.org.


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