Finding Family: Heart Gallery LA uses art of photography to help kids in foster care find a family

There are nearly 19,000 children in foster care in Los Angeles County and hundreds are looking for a family to adopt them.

The Heart Gallery is a national traveling photographic exhibit and its L.A. chapter is run by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Professional photographers volunteer their time to take pictures of kids who are looking for a permanent home.

That means courts are no longer looking to reunite them with their families. Instead, those children are up for adoption.

“We have about 55 kids,” said Stephanie Clancy, a former Heart Gallery coordinator who recently conducted her final photoshoot for the organization after 22 years. “Fifty-five is a lot. Many are sibling sets. We have sets up to four in a group.”

One of the children the Heart Gallery is currently featuring is 10-year-old Jaxon. He’s been in the foster care system since he was five.

His social worker told Eyewitness News at one point, he and his sister were in a foster home together. She was adopted by that family, but he wasn’t.

As Jaxon goes from person to person and place to place, he has to be the one to look out for himself.

Academically, he’s gifted. His teachers said he’s ahead of his class. He’s compassionate and has a love for creatures big and small.

Hurdles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have delayed the process, but an organization is looking to change that with a simple photo.

Academically, he’s gifted. His teachers said he’s ahead of his class. He’s compassionate and has a love for creatures big and small.

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