(April 12, 2010) The Adoption Council of Canada (ACC) and the Children's Aid Society (CAS) of Ottawa are launching a pilot program to find homes for children and youth in foster care.
The Heart Gallery of Ottawa is a travelling exhibit of professional photographs of 18 children and youth, aged 4 to 15, who are waiting for permanent families.
It's the first Heart Gallery in Canada. Heart Galleries in the U.S. have been successful at increasing the numbers of foster homes found for children in care. ACC hopes to create more such galleries across Canada.
According to ACC figures there are 30,000 children and youth in Canada in public care who need permanent families. 9,200 of them are in Ontario.
To find permanent homes for foster kids, the Heart Gallery uses the power of photography to capture the individuality and dignity of waiting children, to raise public awareness about their needs and to obtain support to meet those needs.
The launch of the Heart Gallery, held April 15 on Parliament Hill, was hosted by Senator Jim Munson (Ottawa / Rideau Canal).
"I am proud to be part of an initiative that does so much to help children and families find each other," said Senator Munson. "This exhibit, so successful in the United States, shows how powerful art can be in making the world a better place."
Barbary MacKinnon, Executive Director of Ottawa CAS, said: "The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa is proud to partner with the ACC to participate in the first-ever Heart Gallery in Canada. It is critical that the people of Ottawa understand that there are children and youth in our very own community who don't have a family to call their own. It is our hope that through this initiative families will not only come forward to make a difference in the life of a child or youth, but that the Ottawa community as a whole will see and appreciate the wonderful potential and possibilities of all of the children and youth who are in care."
For more information:
— Laura Eggertson, ACC Board Member, firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-235-0344
— André Fontaine, Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, Andre.Fontaine@casott.on.ca, 613-747-7800
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