because everyone deserves a forever family...


What is the Heart Gallery?

The Heart Gallery is a travelling photographic exhibit created to find permanent families for children and youth living in foster care and group care. The Heart Gallery is multifaceted.  It helps to: empower children and youth by giving them an active role in their destiny; create a positive identity within children and youth; capture and showcase the inner and outer beauty of children and youth; and, create community awareness about the need and opportunity to provide permanent homes for children and youth in foster and group care.

Where did the Heart Gallery start?

The Heart Gallery project originated in 2001 in the United States.  Today, there are 120 Heart Galleries across America.

What about the Heart Galleries in Canada?

On April 15, 2010, the first Heart Gallery in Canada was officially launched.  The pilot project was championed by the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC) and the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CASO), in conjunction with Tripp Photography and Associates.  Funding to develop and sustain the Ottawa Heart Gallery was generously provided by Jockey Being Family, CASO, and the ACC.

The Heart Gallery in Canada has now expanded to include a second pilot region: Guelph & Wellington County.  This project is a partnership between the ACC, Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County (FCS Guelph), and Dean Palmer Photography.  The Guelph Heart Gallery officially launched to the public on Wednesday, October 24, 2012.  Funding to launch the second Heart Gallery project was kindly provided by Jockey Being Family, The Co-Operators, ACC, FCS Guelph, and Platters Catering.

How do you choose which children & youth to feature?

  1. The court has determined that the child is unable to return to a parent or relative and requires a permanent home in which to grow up.
  2. The current placement is unable to provide a permanent home for the child.
  3. There is no approved or waiting family/kin that is available to adopt the child.
  4. The youth is consenting to have his/her profile exhibited for the purposes of adoption.

What are children told about the project and how do you get them involved in a positive way?

We share with them the information that we already have on the process from the USA, show them typical photos and how an event is planned and getting them involved in choosing a venue, how the photos should be arranged/placed, getting them to vet the biography, add their own personal touches (depending on the child/youth capacity).

Are children & youth involved in the portrait selection process?

All children/youth who are waiting for adoption work very closely with an adoption worker who helps prepare the child/youth for the various recruitment experiences they will undertake together. This is beneficial in that the child/youth who is actively involved in the process are typically more confident and ready for the notion of moving on to adoption.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

In-depth and careful consideration is made when choosing the children and youth in our Heart Gallery projects.  In all cases, we ensure that children and youth are legally free for adoption, children and youth are emotionally ready to participate in recruitment, and public profiling is not deemed to present a safety issue.  Children and youth are empowered throughout the process as they choose their own pseudonyms, work with a professional photographer, and help to write profile descriptions that best capture their needs and interests.  A core principle of the Heart Gallery project in Canada is in working WITH the children and youth.  Children and youth can withdraw from the process at any time and legal consents are signed internally.

How can I learn more about the children and youth involved in the Heart Gallery?

The Heart Gallery has two key components.  The first is a physical touring portrait gallery of children and youth available for adoption.  The portrait gallery tours across communities in government buildings, public libraries, recreation centres, gala events, and corporate headquarters.  The portraits are mounted on easels and profile descriptions are made available on site.  The profile descriptions include contact information for the child/youth’s worker.  Dates and locations for the touring Heart Galleries are made available at

Furthermore, in addition to the touring portrait gallery, a virtual gallery is available electronically via Interested applicants can apply for access directly on the website.

Will the child & youth worker consider a family from outside of his/her region?

This is very dependent on the type of child/youth we have, what kinds of access he/she will have with family/friends/kin, desire to move away.

Will there be more Heart Galleries in Canada?

The Adoption Council of Canada is endeavouring to launch additional Heart Galleries across the county.  Our goal is to add 6 new locations by 2016.

How can I get involved?

To learn about how YOU can get involved with Heart Gallery projects in Canada, please contact the Adoption Council of Canada, or 1-888-542-3678.

The Heart Gallery of Ottawa is supported by Jockey Being Family™.