In Arizona, as of March 31, 2014, there were 15,751 children who were placed in out-of-home care due to neglect, abandonment or abuse. Of the total number of children in out-of-home care 3,417 had a case plan goal of adoption; 70 percent of these children are generally adopted by relatives or foster parents.
The children who need temporary and permanent families are teenagers, toddlers, infants, children with special behavioral and medical needs and sibling groups. They represent all ethnic groups. Nearly 35 percent of children in out-of-home care are 1 to 5 years of age. Youth 13-17 years of age comprise nearly 25 percent of the children in care. The majority of children in out-of-home care are either Caucasian (38 percent) or Hispanic (36 percent), followed by African American (14 percent)
The concept of a Heart Gallery was first developed in New Mexico. Currently more than 120 Heart Galleries are placed in communities throughout the United States. A Heart Gallery heightens the visibility of children in foster care awaiting families-–the ‘waiting children’—by featuring them in a traveling multi-media exhibit.
The project harnesses the power of photography to capture each child’s unique spirit and story in a profile. The photo profiles are featured online and in exhibits in larger public forums like churches, airports and malls. With the aid and support of the media and the public, Heart Galleries all across America continue to assist child advocates with finding homes for hundreds of children in foster care each year.