We live in a society where watching the news can be a frightening experience. Images of violence and pain flash past our eyes, and stories of injustice fill our ears. Where are the stories with happy endings? Surely they are out there somewhere.
Even the foster care system–one that was nobly created to provide safe, temporary shelter for children—is not spared. As an idea with such good intentions, the term “foster care” now often conjures negative connotations. We seem to only hear about it when something goes wrong—a kidnapping, injury, beating or death.
Gary Stangler, Executive Director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, writes in an article for The Huffington Post’s online blog that more than 200,000 teenagers have aged out of foster care at age 18 over the past decade. After having the system make every important life decision for them, these young people enter the world without any support system, a tragic situation that puts them at risk of unemployment, homelessness, and even incarceration.
But—indeed—there is a silver lining to foster care that society has yet to hear much about: it is the work of organizations like the South Carolina Heart Gallery. Over 50% of children who go through the South Carolina Heart Gallery are matched with a family.
Between October 2012 and the end of September 2013, 73 new families started the adoption process through the South Carolina Heart Gallery. Millie Qualls, Program Coordinator of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, attributes many of these new families to the support and resources provided by the Foundation established to support the Gallery’s work.
“We can directly or indirectly connect these new families to the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation,” says Millie Qualls.
While some foster care systems struggle to cope with increasing demand, it is encouraging to know that the South Carolina Heart Gallery and its supporting Foundation are doing an incredible job of finding forever homes for the state’s waiting children.