Governor Susana Martinez Unveils Nation’s First Permanent Digital Heart Gallery
ALBUQUERQUE -- Today, Governor Susana Martinez unveiled the nation’s first permanent Digital Heart Gallery. The Digital Heart Gallery helps Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) foster children available for adoption find their "forever families."
“In New Mexico on any given night, 300 kids are looking for their forever family,” said Governor Martinez. “This new Digital Heart Gallery does an amazing job of reflecting the personalities of these amazing children, and is another important step in helping more New Mexico children find their forever family, something every child needs and deserves.”
In a large and rural state like New Mexico, using this digital program allows CYFD to more quickly and efficiently update Heart Galleries, so that more New Mexico children needing forever families can be featured. As children are adopted, CYFD adoption recruiters will be able to update the Digital Heart Galleries online from a central location, without having to drive for hours to physically change the photographs and information. The digital exhibit will run continuous pictures of CYFD foster children available for adoption through a 47-inch monitor. The monitor will also play messages from current adoptive and foster parents, and advocates, as well as public service announcements to help raise awareness about foster care and adoption. The monitor will also be surrounded with pictures of forever families brought together through CYFD.
“By using this technology to make more New Mexicans aware of these beautiful children who are available for adoption, these children have a better chance to find forever families,” continued Governor Martinez. “By expanding Digital Heart Galleries, we are giving more loving families the opportunity to see the children, and hopefully bring them into their homes as their sons and daughters.”
The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and CYFD are partnering to expand Digital Heart Galleries into more state museums. By the end of June, two additional Digital Heart Galleries will open at the New Mexico Museum of Space History and the IMAX Theater in Alamogordo. Additionally, Christus Saint Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe will soon upgrade their Heart Gallery to this new digital program.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with CYFD in this innovative Digital Heart Gallery," said New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica N. Gonzales. “The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a perfect venue, and we are proud to share our space with the children featured in the Gallery to help find their forever families.”
As of May 2014, there were close to 2,100 New Mexico children in foster care. There are 572 foster children statewide who are currently available for adoption. In Bernalillo County alone, there are 192 children available for adoption through CYFD.
“There has always been a challenge in finding permanent homes for older children and sibling groups,” said CYFD Cabinet Secretary Yolanda Deines. “We are very grateful to Governor Martinez for her continued support of the Heart Gallery and for tireless efforts to help raise awareness about foster and adoption in New Mexico.”
Over the last 3 ½ years, 15 permanent and 43 temporary Heart Gallery exhibits have been established throughout New Mexico, including communities such as Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Alamogordo, Silver City, Hobbs, Roswell, and Clovis.
The Heart Gallery of New Mexico is a CYFD program created to raise 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, http://www.heartgallerynm.org.
New Mexicans interested in becoming adoptive or foster parents can call 1-800-432-2075.