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Indiana Heart Gallery showcases kids who need families

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Indiana Heart Gallery brings portraits of children who need new homes and new families, all across the state.

The project, created by the Indiana Department of Child Services, is used to raise awareness and help get kids adopted from the system. 

"These are kids who need a family, just as much as any other kid," says Amanda Schortgen, the Coordinator for the Indiana Heart Gallery.

She works with DCS each year, to help place children in new homes.

In just one year, the adoption numbers have spiked 75%, because of events and projects like the Heart Gallery. 

"We have over 30 kids on display. These are kids who are in foster care and are available for adoption," explains Schortgen. 

The smiling faces on display, are chosen specifically because they're deemed "hard to place."

They're either considered too old, in a sibling group, or have a disability.

Schortgen says, people want to adopt the babies, and that any kid older than two years old, is considered old. 

"There are thousands of kids in the foster system, but there are 200 kids who are considered children in waiting," she adds.

And that number has gone up.

"We have seen a spike because of the opioid epidemic right now," explains Schortgen. "There's a need for foster families and there's a need for these children, who aren't going to go back home."

Putting a face and a name, with a need, she's hoping that someone will find a place in their heart, and their home, to help. 

"[It's] a powerful way to connect with these children and start seeing them as real children," she says. "We want you to make that connection, not have us just tell you these numbers. We want you to see these kids and connect with them and want to do something to help."

ABC57 News will dig deeper into the topic of the opioid epidemic and the foster care system, during the 90 minute special of Addicted America.

The special airs on Monday, November 20, starting at 5 p.m. 

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