Heart Gallery of Iowa Features 'Waiting Children' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Heart Gallery of Iowa Features 'Waiting Children'

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The popular Iowa KidsNet-Lutheran Services in Iowa ‘Heart Gallery of Iowa' is on display at various Iowa locations right now during National Adoption month.  Heart Gallery is a collection of profession photographs, featuring Iowa's ‘Waiting Children.' These are Iowa kids, free for legal adoption.

Heart Gallery moves to the Mason City Public Library December 18 through December 30 and then to Marshalltown, January 7 through February 9, at the Central Iowa Art Association, 709 South Center Street, Marshalltown. Heart Gallery returns to Waterloo-Cedar Falls area Public Libraries beginning February 10. We'll give you the exact locations when that information becomes available. 

Mary Foy of Lutheran Services in Iowa, is in charge of the Heart Gallery in Eastern Iowa. Mary and her husband adopted two of their four children, and Mary says the need for foster and adoptive parents in Iowa has never been greater.

"There's a great need for foster families. We had 118 kids in foster care in Black Hawk County, but only 85 families. So, the need is great. We especially need families for teenagers, African American children, and kids with special needs and special behaviors," Foy said.

To learn about any of Iowa's ‘Waiting Children,' call the Iowa Kids Net toll free phone number, 1-800-243-0756 or go to http://www.iowakidsnet.org.

Iowa KidsNet is there to help Iowa kids. The Iowa Kids Net project is already having a positive impact in helping kids find safe environments in which to live. This is a unique partnership of several non-profit Iowa agencies, headed by Four Oaks, to help Iowa children and families.

On average, the Iowa foster care system serves more than 11,000 children every year. These statistics emphasize the need to make sure all Iowa kids live in a safe and loving environment.

Iowa Kids Net is headquartered at the Four Oaks complex in Cedar Rapids. The other agencies include Quakerdale, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Family Resources, Children's Square USA/Child Connect and Boys and Girls Home and Family Services. In addition, Iowa Kids Net gets support from Youth and Shelter Services, The Avalon Center, Young House Family Services, Children and Families of Iowa and American Home Finding Association.

The Iowa Department of Human Services awarded Iowa Kids Net a contract to serve as an adoption and foster care recruitment tool, and to create safe, permanent connections between children and families through foster care.

Unfortunately, Iowa currently has more children in foster care than families available to provide them a safe environment while in foster care.

The need for foster and adoptive parents in Iowa remains great. In fiscal year 2006, the State of Iowa, through various agencies, served 11,748 children in the Iowa foster care system. On any given day in Iowa, some five-thousand children live in Iowa foster homes.

The Iowa Department of Human Services has embarked on a new initiative regarding foster care and adoptions. DHS recently awarded a contract to a new statewide collaboration of non-profit agencies dedicated to the safety and permanency of children and families; it's called Iowa Kids Net.

This new network consisted of almost a dozen agencies. Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids is the lead agency in this new effort to recruit and retain resource families who are interested in foster care and adoption of Iowa children. Iowa Kids Net will also work with the long-running Iowa's Child Special Needs Adoption program on KWWL-TV.

To learn more about Iowa KidsNet and becoming a foster or adoptive parent, you can easily contact Iowa KidsNet on its toll-free number 1-800-243-0756. If this number sounds familiar, it should. It's the same toll- free phone number which has been used by Kidsake over the past few years. Iowa KidsNet is replacing Kidsake, and will build on the successful efforts of Kidsake under this new recruitment and retention effort.

Online Reporter: Ron Steele

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