Health and Family Services Cabinet
Louisville Portrait Gallery Raises Adoption Awareness; Professional photographers team up with state for sixth cycle of recruitment effort

Press Release Date:  Thursday, November 01, 2012  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3104; or Jill Midkiff, (502) 564-7042, ext. 3465  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2012) – A collection of children’s portraits designed to raise awareness for Kentucky’s adoption needs premiered today in Louisville. Governor Steve Beshear has proclaimed November Adoption Awareness Month in Kentucky.

The Shining Star Photo Gallery VI opened with a reception today at the Muhammad Ali Center. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), WLKY Wednesday’s Child Inc., Brown-Forman and Allegra East are sponsors of the display, a continuation of an effort begun in 2004.

The exhibition features 23 children from the state’s Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP) who are living in foster care across the state. Twenty-two professional photographers from the area donated their time and talent to create the portraits of individual children.

CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said the gallery is an innovative tool that will grab your heart and hopefully help with adoption recruitment.

“If there is one thing every child deserves, it’s a loving family,” she said. “When it doesn’t work out that children can stay with their birth families, adoption can give them a place to belong. Through these gorgeous portraits, the Shining Star Photo Gallery shows the public the depth and warmth of these waiting children.”

Teresa James, commissioner of the CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services, said her staff considers the best interest of the children in state care when they seek adoptive families.
 
“We work to find adoptive families that match the children’s needs and interests,” she said. “Potential parents who read a child’s profile from this portrait gallery can take the first step by asking questions about the process.”

Since 1979, SNAP has been recruiting adoptive families for Kentucky’s harder to place foster children – many of whom are older, have medical needs or are part of sibling groups. The children have been featured in the SNAP photo book, in web profiles and on WLKY’s Wednesday’s Child segments.

“The Shining Star Gallery is a successful example of how our community partnerships can pay off,” James said. “Wednesday’s Child is a great asset to our recruitment network, and this group works tirelessly to find homes for these special children.”

James also praised the 22 photographers who donated their time to the gallery, some for the sixth time.

“The gallery always gets a remarkable response,” she said. “The general public becomes more aware of the needs of adoptive children, and the children enjoy their turn in the spotlight.”

The photos are also being used on the SNAP website: www.chfs.ky.gov/snap.

Since 2004, 116 children have been featured in the gallery. Forty-six of those children who have been featured in the gallery have been adopted. 

Of the more than 7,000 children in out-of-home care, more than 1,800 have the goal of adoption. Of that number, approximately 300 are available for adoption and are waiting for a family.

The Muhammad Ali Center was also a sponsor of the the preview reception for the gallery, which is a traveling portrait display that is available for exhibit at other sites.

Leaders of businesses, community groups or faith-based organizations may call (502) 595-KIDS or (800) 928-4303 or send an e-mail to wednesdayschild@bellsouth.net to learn more about hosting the Shining Star Photo Gallery and helping find loving families for these and other children.

The gallery will be on display through November -- National Adoption Month -- at the Louisville Metro Hall of Justice, Hall of Justice, 600 W. Jefferson. Please visit www.wednesdayschild.com for scheduling updates.

Photographers contributing to the exhibit are: Candy Ailstock, Bruce Anderson, James Bennett, Tony Bennett, Beryl Ward Brown, Jolea Brown, Nathan Cornetet, Ashley Edwardson, Tim Girton, Whitney Guelda, Maggie Huber, Christofer Humphreys, Dean Lavenson, John Nation, Rudiger Von Rhon Pauley, Tyler Michael Pelan, Shelley Rassenfoss, Debra Rose, Jay Sheldon, Jeremy Snider, Yono and Jacob Zimmer.

For more information about SNAP, log on to www.chfs.ky.gov/snap or www.wednesdayschild.com. Or call or call (800) 928-4303.

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The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.