Heart Gallery of Texas

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About The Heart Galleries of Texas

Working Together to Find Positive Permanency for Texas Children

Heart Galleries display beautifully captured professional portraits to connect children whose parental rights have been terminated with adults, friends and communities who support and celebrate them, including potential adoptive families. These connections are especially critical for teens, sibling groups, and children with higher medical needs.

But it’s not just about the photo. The foundation of this approach is collaboration and success centers around communities working together to collectively wrap their arms around children and build permanency through strong relationships.



On March 29, 2001, at the suggestion of Santa Fe photographer and adoptive mother Cathy Maier, the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department brought the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words" to life at the nation’s first Heart Gallery exhibit.


In February 2014, Partnerships for Children opened the doors of the Heart Gallery of Central Texas serving all of Region 7 and setting the standard for adoption outreach and collaboration and improved adoption rates that remain today.


In February 2019, First Lady Cecilia Abbott and Kim Phelan, wife of Speaker Dade Phelan, hosted a Heart Galleries of Texas exhibit at the Texas Capitol.  Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) representatives from across the state exhibited portraits of children available for adoption in Texas.  This was the start of discussions on the need for continued collaborative efforts to advocate for the children in Texas who are available for adoption. 


In February 2020, Be a Resource launched the Heart Gallery of Houston serving Region 6.  They worked closely with the Heart Gallery of Central Texas team to replicate efforts that produced positive permanency for so many families for so families. 


In February 2022, The Texas Center for Child and Family Studies (The Center) and Partnerships for Children developed a report on Adoption Recruitment Efforts in Texas that was a culmination of months of interviews and research facilitated by an independent contractor. This report is intended to increase understanding of current adoption recruitment efforts underway in Texas, clarify the steps to recruiting adoptive families, identify barriers in current processes, and offer potential solutions to improve the system.

In August 2022, in partnership with The Center, DFPS, Partnerships for Children and the Governor's Commission for Women, we officially launched the Heart Galleries of Texas expansion. Kori Gough, who had served as the Executive Director for Partnerships for Children for 10 years, was appointed Director over this statewide effort.  The expansion work started in Region 3 (DFW), Region 9 (Midland/Odessa), Region 10 (El Paso) and Region 11 (Corpus Christi).  The initial work focused on meeting with key leadership and community stakeholders within each community in efforts to identify the non-profit organization best equipped to take on the Heart Gallery for their region. 


In January 2023, we began to partner with the University of Texas, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and the Moritz Center for Societal Impact. Working with their team, we received $12,000,000 in the 88th Legislative Session to support the Heart Galleries of Texas expansion and Post-Adopt services. In September, we began the RFA process to select organizations for down-grant funding to launch a Heart Gallery in the (11) regions in Texas


 By 2025, Heart Galleries of Texas will:

  • Develop strong and thriving local heart galleries that serve communities across Texas in order to increase the number of children and youth in positive and permanent placements
  • Provide support to families formed by adoption, kinship and/or guardianship to prevent disruptions and promote family wellbeing
  • Provide statewide support of local heart galleries to foster innovation, provide peer support and inform best practices for system and practice improvements

Heart Gallery Staff

Kori Gough

Heart Galleries of Texas Director

I have spent the better part of the last two decades working in the non-profit world, specifically around child welfare. I began my role as the ED of Partnerships for Children (PFC) in 2013 and loved the groundbreaking work that came out of this organization and its team during my time there. We helped to fill the gap in limited supports for children and families involved in child welfare and collaborated with community stakeholders to improve outcomes. The Heart Gallery of Central Texas is a PFC program and the model that we want to replicate across the state.


Erin Argue

Heart Galleries of Texas Associate Director

I have spent the last decade working to support non-profits in the Texas child welfare space, with most of my efforts supporting programs for teens and young adults aging from the foster care system. Having obtained an MSW from Texas State University, I had access to education and experiences to enhance my skills in the field. If there’s one thing I have learned along the way, it’s that these youth deserve to have access to supportive, loving adults in their life and find access to permanency however feels right to them. Helping Texas develop innovative systems to meet the permanency needs of children across the state is something I’m looking forward to. I believe that once youth find permanency the work continues ensuring everyone has access to the supports and resources necessary to keep children in their communities, and in their homes.

Cara Fox

Heart Galleries of Texas Coordinator

I’m a proud two-time Texas Longhorn graduate (Bachelors in Social Work and Master of Public Affairs) with over two decades of experience in child welfare and nonprofit leadership/administration. I get excited about a lot of things, but helping children who have been in foster care achieve positive permanency is my primary area of passion. I love connecting people to: each other, resources/supports that help, and ways they can make a difference. Working on Heart Gallery statewide expansion is at the intersection of all of this!