Health and Family Services Cabinet
Frankfort Portrait Gallery Raises Adoption Awareness;Professional photographers team up with state for recruitment effort
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2008) – A collection of children’s portraits designed to raise awareness for Kentucky’s adoption needs premiered today in Frankfort.
The Salt River Trail Heart Gallery opened with a reception today at Franklin County Family Court. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Franklin Family Court, Franklin County CASA and several local attorneys are sponsors of the display.
The exhibition features 10 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.
Patricia R. Wilson, 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.”
Photographers who contributed to the event are Eddie Boden, Boden Photography, Georgetown; Robert Burge, Robert Burge Photography, Louisville; and Sara Lovorn, a DCBS employee in Franklin County. Wilson praised their efforts.
“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.”
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 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 WLKY-TV’s Wednesday’s Child in Louisville and WLEX-TV Thursday’s Child in Lexington.
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 Heart Gallery will be on display at Franklin County Courthouse Annex for two weeks. It will be on exhibit at Commonwealth Credit Union, 1425 Louisville Road, Frankfort, for the first half of December. It will then travel to Anderson County for the second part of the month and later to locations in all 17 counties of DCBS’ Salt River Trail Region.
For more information about SNAP, log on to www.chfs.ky.gov/snap or www.wednesdayschild.com.
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