Heart Gallery of Texas

Heart Galleries of Texas logo

AUSTIN, Texas —  The Heart Galleries of Texas is pleased to announce that for the first time ever, all 11 child welfare regions in Texas now have a Heart Gallery, opening new opportunities for 6,000 children in the Texas foster care system awaiting adoption.

Heart Gallery programs use exhibits, portraits and media to introduce communities to children in foster care who want to be adopted. Heart Gallery programs especially seek to facilitate connections with potential adoptive families for children who typically have to wait longer for adoptions, such as older youth, sibling groups and/or children with higher medical needs.

“The fact that we now have a Heart Gallery program in every region is a huge accomplishment,” said Kori Gough, director of the Heart Galleries of Texas. “Prior to funding through the Heart Galleries of Texas, some regions had no programming to help children wanting to be adopted. Other regions had programming with little financial support to meet the needs of children in that area.”

Heart Gallery programs play a critical role in helping youth in foster care connect with potential families, especially at the local level. The expansion is supported by funding from the Texas Legislature to increase the number of programs and consistency between programs.

“We are so grateful to have the resources necessary to help connect our community to children wanting to be adopted,” said Jennifer Kremer-Oliva, director of the Heart Gallery of South Texas. “This is the first time that we have been able to have an organized effort to increase adoption opportunities for our teens, sibling groups and children with special medical needs. Our hope is to engage our community to understand and support all children in foster care waiting for adoption.”

The Heart Galleries of Texas is housed within the Steve Hicks School of Social Work in collaboration with the Texas Center for Child and Family Studies. The Texas Women’s Commission, Office of the Speaker, and Office of the First Lady have been strong supporters of the expansion of Heart Gallery programs.

 “We were inspired by the success of the heart gallery model in central Texas and set out to replicate its achievements statewide,” said Nathali Parker Weisman, Chair of the Texas Women’s Commission. “Today, we are thrilled to see how quickly this milestone was reached with programs now established in every corner of the state.”

“The Heart Galleries of Texas is dedicated to enhancing communication with local foster care professionals, a crucial step in the ongoing commitment to improve adoption outcomes,” said Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott. We look forward to the lasting positive impact on adoption outcomes for children and families across the state.”

We encourage all local media to contact their local Heart Gallery to highlight local efforts. Contact information for all 12 regions can be found below.

Regional Heart Gallery Contacts

Region 1 – Heart Gallery of Northwest Texas Tyler Young, Board Chair Community Partners of Lubbock tyler.young@texastechfcu.org 806-744-6318Region 7 – Heart Gallery of Central Texas Sarah Murry, Program Manager Partnerships for Children Sarah.murry@partnershipsforchildren.org 512-834-4756
Region 2 – Heart Gallery of the Panhandle Krysten Ughanze, Special Projects Manager Texas Family Initiative kughanze@tfifamily.org 325-280-3469Region 8 – Heart Gallery of South Central Texas Courtney Laverty, Executive Director THRU Project claverty@thruproject.org 210-852-0220
Region 3 – Heart Gallery of North Texas Tanya Houk, Director of Child Advocacy Gladney Center for Adoption Tanya.Houk@Gladney.org 817-922-6000Region 9 – Heart Gallery of West Texas Matt Waller, Associate Director One Accord for Kids mwaller@oneaccordforkids.org 432-254-6230
Region 4 – Heart Gallery of East Texas Gillian Sheridan, Heart Gallery Manager gillian@thefosteringcollective.orgRegion 10 – Heart Gallery of El Paso Valeria Contreras, Heart Gallery Executive Director Paso del Norte Community Foundation valeria@heartgalleryelpaso.org 915-228-4108
Region 5 – Heart Gallery of Southeast Texas Shari Pulliam, Senior Director of Community Engagement Texas Family Care Network spulliam@txfcn.orgRegion 11 – Heart Gallery of South Texas Jennifer Kremer-Oliva, Heart Gallery of South Texas Director Foster Angels of South Texas jennifer@fosterangelsstx.org 210-818-1819
Region 6 – Heart Gallery of Greater Houston Merri Hahn, Community Outreach and Heart Gallery Manager Merri.hahn@harriscountytx.gov 713-274-9816

CONTACT                                                        SECONDARY CONTACT

Kori Gough                                                      J.D. Moore

(512) 698-2627                                               (512) 781-1458

kori.gough@austin.utexas.edu                       jd.moore@austin.utexas.edu

Source: Steve Hicks School of Social Work