“Home At Last” Segment on NH Chronicle on WMUR-TV
Most children entering foster care as a result of abuse and neglect in their home are able to successfully reunify with their family thanks to the hard work and commitment of their parents, their foster parents and the support from professionals. However, when children and youth cannot safely return home, Adoption is the preferred alternative. The State is continually recruiting for families who are ready and able to commit to a child or youth waiting for adoption. This task may have become a bit easier thanks to an amazing partnership with NH Chronicle and WMUR TV. Watch “Home At Last” on NH Chronicle and meet some of our youth waiting to find a family to call their own.
The Heart Gallery Project
The Heart Gallery is a project originally initiated by the New Mexico Department of Youth and Families as a way to recruit adoptive families for waiting children. DCYF partnered with Jordan’s Furniture and the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange in creating the permanent New Hampshire Heart Gallery in the Jordan’s Furniture store in Nashua.
DCYF has partnered with the NH Professional Photographers Association and some individual volunteer photographers to take photos of Waiting Children. There are currently over 30 photographers who are volunteering their time and services for this project. A local printer provides the 20x24 photos needed for the gallery at a greatly reduced cost. In addition, each child receives either a framed 8x10 photo or a photo album of proofs.
Children participating in the Heart Gallery Project are legally free to be adopted. They are waiting to be matched with a family who will commit to them forever.
The permanent Heart Gallery created in collaboration with the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) remains displayed at Jordan’s Furniture in Nashua, NH. Heart Gallery pictures can also be seen at the DHHS Administrative Offices in Concord.
Who are the children?
The children in foster care come from family situations where they have experienced either neglect or sexual, emotional or physical abuse. They range in age from birth to age 18. Some of the youth are children in need of supervision or are delinquent youth. Domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness may be a part of the family’s history. Children involved with foster care and adoption usually attend the local public school and most children need the opportunity to participate in normal childhood activities in the community.
Nationally, the number of children in care in March 2010—approximately 588,000—is, in fact, more than double the number of children in care in 1984 (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2001c). In New Hampshire, there are approximately 900 children served in foster family care in a given year.
What is Foster Care?
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division for Children, Youth, & Families (DCYF) investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. If the assessment indicates a child’s safety are at risk, DCYF petitions the court to have the child removed from their family and placed in a safe, caring, temporary environment. The child may move to a relative’s home or a foster home. There are several types of foster family care. Some are administered by the public agency, DCYF, while private child placing agencies administers others. Basic foster family care is called General Care, and there are also other types of care including Specialized, Emergency, Crisis and Independent Service Option.
Foster families provide homes for children whose families are unable or unwilling to care for them. Every effort is made to help the child remain with his or her family. Foster parents are asked to provide a supportive atmosphere while the biological parents, agency staff, and foster parents work on individual and family issues.
The temporary and complex nature of foster care places special demands on foster parents. They are asked to take someone else’s child into their home, care for the child, and treat the child as a member of their family. The Foster Care Program provides the necessary support and training to enable foster parents to provide daily care and supervision for the child in care.
What is Adoption?
Adoption is a lifelong commitment you make to a child and the legal status given to you as a parent to provide for the care, custody, safety and well-being of a child. Adoption offers children the highest level of permanency
The DCYF Adoption Program provides the following adoption support services and adoption search services. Pre and post adoption services for adoptive families includes support groups, information and referral services, administration of the Adoption Subsidy program, and training and home studies for NH adoptive families seeking to adopt children through DCYF. Adoption search services are available for persons who were adopted through DCYF, birth parents of persons adopted through DCYF, and siblings and other relatives of adopted persons when a court order is obtained for search services.
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