Health and Family Services Cabinet
Frankfort Portrait Gallery Raises Adoption Awareness; Exhibit is part of state recruitment effort
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 21, 2013) – A collection of children’s portraits designed to raise awareness for Kentucky’s adoption needs is traveling through Frankfort.
The Salt River Trail Heart Gallery is a traveling show featuring professional photographs of Kentucky’s foster children awaiting adoption from 17 counties in Kentucky that make up the Salt River Trail Region. Photographers and community partners work with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to volunteer their time, talent and resources to work with these special children in order to showcase their individuality and search for stable, loving families.
This is the sixth installment of the gallery show in Salt River. The Salt River Trail Heart Gallery began in 2008 as a project sponsored by CHFS, Franklin Family Court, Franklin County CASA and several local attorneys. The Gallery has continued to be funded by CHFS in conjunction with WLKY Wednesday Child Inc. and donations from Allegra East Marketing Services in Louisville.
The current exhibition features nine children from the state’s Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP) who are living in foster care across the Salt River Trail Region. Photographers from the area donated their time and talent to create the portraits of children and sibling pairs.
Teresa James, commissioner of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), 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 Heart Gallery shows the public the depth and warmth of these waiting children.”
Here is the schedule for the Salt River Trail Gallery:
• Feb. 19-25: Paul Sawyier Public Library, 319 Wapping St.
• Feb. 25- March 4: Camp Pleasant Baptist Church, 830 Shadrick Ferry Road
• March 4-March 11: Commonwealth Credit Union, 1425 Louisville Road
The gallery opened earlier this month at the Farmer’s Bank Franklin Square branch.
Commissioner James praised the efforts of the photographers who participated.
“Many of these children have never seen themselves the way these photographers have captured them – beautiful,” she said. “Heart-warming pictures like these help the general public become more aware of the needs of adoptive children.”
James 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,” 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.”
Families interested in learning more about becoming an adoptive or foster parent are invited to an informational meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 4 at the Franklin County DCBS office, 677 Comanche Trail, Frankfort. A new schedule of foster/adoption certification classes will meet Monday nights March 11-May 13 at Farmdale Baptist Church 5610 US 127 South, Frankfort.
To learn more about the meeting and the training, contact Dusty Whitaker at (502) 564-5390 or (888) 698-2221.
Since 1979, SNAP has been recruiting adoptive families for Kentucky’s harder to place foster children – many of whom are older, have medical or behavioral needs or are part of sibling groups. The children have been featured in the SNAP photo book, in web profiles and on segments for WLEX-TV Thursday’s Child in Lexington and WLKY-TV’s Wednesday’s Child in Louisville. Bowling Green also spotlights foster children awaiting adoption in the Daily News’ Sunday’s Child feature and on WBKO’s Mid-Day’s Child.
Of the more than 7,000 children in out-of-home care statewide, 1,798 have the goal of adoption, which means they can’t be reunited with their families because of abuse, neglect and other safety issues.
The Heart Gallery will travel to other locations in all 17 counties of DCBS’ Salt River Trail Region.
For more information about SNAP, log on to http://www.chfs.ky.gov/snap.
Salt River’s 17 counties are Anderson, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Franklin, Grayson, Hardin, Henry, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble, Washington and Woodford.
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.