Galleries on display at Waco banks feature children in Central Texas’ child welfare system

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 6:51 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local bank is hoping to help often overlooked children in the child welfare system in Central Texas find their forever homes by displaying galleries of their photographs in the lobbies of its five banking locations.

The Heart Gallery of Central Texas, a program of Partnerships for Children, is featuring approximately 200 local children who are hoping to find relational permanency or adoptive homes before aging out.

TFNB Your Bank for Life began putting up the galleries this past week and says it’s the least they can do to bring awareness to such a worthwhile cause.

“There are few organizations in Texas that can help navigate the complex process of adoption as beautifully as Partnerships for Children. Many of us at TFNB Your Bank for Life have personal experiences with foster care and adoption that help us understand how hard it can be for potential forever families to even know what children are in need of homes,” said Strategic Initiatives Senior Vice President Jason Lavender.

“Our hope is to help bring more visibility to these deserving Central Texas kids so more families can truly see them as they are and hopefully want to learn more about them.”

The children featured in the gallery have something about them that makes them sometimes overlooked. They could be older, have a disability or be part of a sibling group.

Volunteer photographers don’t just take headshots of the children, they shoot with the goal of capturing their unique personalities.

Partnerships for Children Services Director Erin Argue says the pictures have drawn in potential families in ways they’d never dreamed.

A few years ago, the chance of these children finding a forever family was less than 1% but today in Central Texas that number has surpassed 60 percent and continues to grow.

The Heart Gallery of Central Texas has featured almost 600 children in 10 years and more than 350 of them have found their forever homes.

“Before Heart Galleries were in existence it would be a case worker on the go and they’d literally pull out their flip phone and say ‘smile,” Argue said. “We really want to showcase the spirit and the personality of these kiddos, and we know they have so much more to offer than a flip phone can offer.”

Argue says she’s thankful to TFNB for opening their lobbies and their hearts to the much-needed awareness campaign.

“We’re super grateful for that community partnership,” Argue said. “A bank is a really great community hub where we can really showcase these children.”

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