An effort is underway to highlight foster kids available for adoption in certain north Florida Starbucks coffee shops. This local partnership with Florida’s child welfare agency could branch out statewide.
If you’ve visited a Tallahassee or Panama City Starbucks in the last month or so, you may have seen a photo exhibit of various kids. It’s called “the Heart Gallery,” a traveling photo exhibit of foster kids in need of a permanent home. And, as part of National Adoption Month, the Florida Department of Children and Families partnered with five Starbucks locations this year—for the 2nd year in a row.
“You know, I can’t say for sure that we’ve had anybody finalize an adoption yet, but there were inquiries that were made,” said Gibson. “Our goal is to raise awareness and certainly encourage folks to contact our agencies to get information on becoming adoptive or foster parents and then learning more about the process at hand.”
Zackary Gibson is Florida’s Chief Child Advocate as well as the Director of the Office of Adoption and Child Protection within the Governor’s office. He says DCF is also looking into taking this local partnership with Starbucks to other Florida counties.
“Hundreds of thousands of people go to those stores on any given day, and certainly in our state, we have 750 kids on any given day who are available for adoption needing a permanent family,” added Gibson. “And, we’re hoping that we can make some connections by displaying these photos in their stories and again, it is certainly our goal to take this statewide and hopefully, in the future, we can have that conversation about how we’re able to do that.”
National Adoption Month is in November, but Gibson says the participating Starbucks locations agreed to continue to carry the photos in December during the holiday season.
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