Governor Susana Martinez Introduces CYFD’s Newest Heart Gallery
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Governor Susana Martinez and CYFD Cabinet Secretary Yolanda Deines today introduced CYFD’s newest permanent Heart Gallery at the Memorial Medical Center of Las Cruces and called on New Mexicans to consider becoming "Forever Families" for children in state custody due to child abuse or neglect.
The Memorial Medical Center of Las Cruces features portraits of Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) foster children who are freed for adoption and waiting to find their "Forever Families."
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is when I get to be part of things that really make a difference in the lives of New Mexicans,” said Governor Martinez. “CYFD’s Heart Gallery helps bring together mothers and fathers with older children in foster care who want and deserve a family to call their own.”
As of July 2013, there were more than 1,800 New Mexican children in foster care. There were 127 alone in Dona Ana County. Currently, 71 children are available for adoption through CYFD, and unfortunately 75 percent of them still don’t have any prospects for adoption. In Dona Ana County, three of six children are awaiting for an adoptive home.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” says Governor Martinez. “Finding families for children in foster care, regardless of how old they are, is a driving goal for Secretary Deines and New Mexico’s child welfare professionals.”
Governor Martinez and Secretary Deines also show-cased the QR scan code technology feature which is now placed on all Heart Gallery photographs. Martinez explained that the QR scan codes in the photos now allow people to use their smart phones to immediately access more information about featured foster children. Users will then be taken directly to a web page featuring individual children or sibling groups, with additional photos, biographical information, and in many cases video interviews.
“This new technology on these beautiful images will allow individuals who walk in and out of this hospital to view instant information about the children looking for Forever Families,” said Governor Martinez. “This will be a very powerful tool in helping to connect potential Forever Families.”
There are now 10 permanent Heart Gallery exhibits in New Mexico. Memorial Medical Center joins the Albuquerque Sunport, the Pit at the University of New Mexico, UNM Hospital, Christus St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, the Office of the Governor, Wendy’s restaurants in Hobbs and Roswell, and the White Sands Mall in Alamogordo and the North Plains Mall in Clovis as permanent Heart Gallery exhibits.
“Older children and siblings are particularly challenging to place permanently,” said CYFD Cabinet Secretary Yolanda Deines. “This is where the Heart Gallery has been a great tool to connect people wanting to help children, and children yearning for a ‘Forever Family.’”
The Heart Gallery of New Mexico is a CYFD program that raises awareness about older foster children and sibling groups in protective custody who are ready for adoption. Talented photographers donate their time to create compelling and unique portraits of the children, which appear in exhibits across the state as well as in the online Heart Gallery on the CYFD website, www.heartgallerynm.org.
New Mexicans interested in becoming adoptive or foster parents can call 1-800-432-2075, or visit www.cyfd.org.