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

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, October 22, 2008  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180, ext. 4014; Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042; or Karen McKiernan, (502) 595-5643  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2008) – A collection of children’s portraits designed to raise awareness for Kentucky’s adoption needs premiered today in Louisville.

The Shining Star Photo Gallery IV opened with a reception today at the Muhammad Ali Center. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and WLKY Wednesday’s Child are co-sponsors of the display, a continuation of an effort begun in 2004.

The exhibition features 20 children from the state’s Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP) who are living in foster care across the state. Nineteen professional photographers from the area donated their time and talent to create the portraits of children and sibling pairs.

Patricia R. Wilson, commissioner of the CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services, said the gallery is an innovative tool for an important effort.

“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. The Shining Star Photo Gallery shows the public the depth and warmth of these waiting children.”

Wilson said her staff considers the best interest of the children in state care when they recruit adoptive families. 

“We work to find adoptive families that match the children’s needs and interests,” Wilson 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,” Wilson said. “Wednesday’s Child is a great asset to our recruitment network, and this group works tirelessly to find homes for these special children.”

Wilson also praised the 19 photographers who donated their time to the gallery, many for the fourth time.

“Every year, we get a remarkable response to the gallery,” 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 Web site.

Since 2004, 30 children who have been featured in the gallery have been adopted. 

Of the more than 7,100 children in out-of-home care, 1,907 have the goal of adoption, which means they can’t be reunited with their families because of abuse, neglect and other safety issues.

The Muhammad Ali Center sponsored 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 to learn more about hosting the Shining Star Photo Gallery and helping find loving families for these and other children.

Photographers contributing to the exhibit are:

Bruce Anderson, Clinton Bennett, Beryl Ward Brown, Jolea Brown, Ron Burgis, Debbi Davis, Laura Hicks, Dean Lavenson, David Modica, John Nation, Jacob Parks, Patrick Pfister, Debra Rose, Bud Smith, Regina Thomas, Sam Upshaw, Martha Work and Yono.

For more information about SNAP, log on to www.chfs.ky.gov/snap or www.wednesdayschild.com.


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