Heart Gallery of Texas

Heart Galleries of Texas logo

By Sara Sanchez/ El Paso Inc. staff writer

El Paso children and families in the adoption and foster system will now have a little more help.

Heart Gallery, a national nonprofit, announced the launch of its El Paso chapter Wednesday at a reception with Texas first lady Cecilia Abbott.

The nonprofit, which helps coordinate and provide high-quality photographs and bios for children in the adoption system, will open 11 programs across Texas after receiving $12 million in state funding.

The El Paso and other new expansions of the Heart Gallery will be modeled off the program in Central Texas.

“Your team here in El Paso is amazing,” said Kori Gough, Heart Galleries of Texas director. “It’s the most unique region, because of the border situation. It’s been a challenge for child placement agencies that manage children in child welfare. They’ve had a hard time finding foster families. A lot of them are taking care of kids coming over the border.”

There are 113 children waiting for adoption in El Paso’s Department of Family and Protective Services Region 10. There are a total of 367 children in the region’s child welfare system, which also includes those in foster care.

El Paso’s Heart Gallery program will be administered through the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, which will receive $500,000 over two years for the program.

In addition to high-quality photos and bios, the Heart Gallery program also provides post-adoption support for families.

Valeria Contreras, the new executive director of Heart Gallery of El Paso, said the Paso del Norte Community Foundation will support the growth of the gallery locally and will work with other partners and organizations on the effort.

“It’s so important to highlight the stories of these children and be able to connect families interested in adoption,” Contreras said. “In investing in the gallery and working with the community, we hope to shine a brighter light in the region for these kids.”

Gough said there are volunteer opportunities with the Heart Gallery, including for photographers. For more information, visit HeartGalleryElPaso.org.

Source: El Paso Inc.