Naji, 14, and Marc, 15, are among the 100 children who have been in New Jersey’s foster care system the longest and are in greatest need of finding a permanent home before they “age out” of the system.
“100 Waiting Children,” a photographic exhibition produced by the Heart Gallery of New Jersey, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to raising awareness about foster children available for adoption, and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), will enjoy a joint exhibit at the Historical Society of Princeton, 158 Nassau Street, and at Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street, Tuesday, July 22, through Sunday, August 10. An opening celebration takes place at both venues on Sunday, July 27.
The Arts Council of Princeton is also collaborating on the exhibit, which focuses on children who are considered hard to adopt because of their age, special needs, or because they want to be adopted with their siblings. These children are available for adoption nationwide.
Through the volunteer efforts of some of the country’s most prestigious photographers, portraits were taken that help capture the individuality and spirit of each foster child who is eligible for adoption. The photographs are accompanied by bios written by reporters who interviewed the children. According to a press statement, the photographs are being shared via the Web and through exhibitions that travel throughout the state in hopes that potential loving families will be moved to inquire about adoption.
The Heart Gallery idea began in New Mexico and quickly spread to other states. New Jersey is the site of the largest project to date. In 2005, the Heart Gallery of New Jersey photographed 346 of the state’s foster children. More than 100 have been adopted and many more are in the adoption process.
All children featured in the Heart Gallery participated with the permission of the DCF Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), the state child welfare agency responsible for their care. The photographers involved followed guidelines set by DYFS and the Heart Gallery and met with caseworkers responsible for the children chosen to be in the gallery.
100 Waiting Children, Sunday, July 27, 1 to 4 p.m., Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street. www.princetonhistory.org, and Princeton Public Library’s Albert E. Hinds Plaza. Joint opening celebration for photographic exhibition, “100 Waiting Children,” which focuses on 100 children who have been in New Jersey’s foster care system the longest and are in greatest need of finding a permanent home. On view at both locations. Through August 10. 609-921-6748. For more information about the Heart Gallery of New Jersey, visit www.heartgallerynj.org.