SWAN is hitting home runs for kids in PA
You’ve probably seen those commercials on television about AdoptPAKids and, at the end, a reference to Pennsylvania’s Statewide Adoption & Permanency Network—or SWAN.
Since 2000, Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries and Family Design Resources (FDR) have partnered to administer services to children in Pennsylvania’s child-welfare system under a contract with the Commonwealth. SWAN was created to eliminate barriers that prevent children from finding permanent homes.
And so it’s not just about adoption.
It’s about finding permanent homes and connections for all children. That means that, today, a 13-year-old youth will receive a child profile, child preparation and child-specific recruitment to look at all available resources who can give him or her a permanent home
That means that a 19-year-old still needing education or working part-time can continue in care and still look for an adoptive family!
In the 13 years since the partnership between Diakon and FDR began, much has changed in what we call the field of permanency.
For example, we now provide formal training so that others know how to help children understand and be prepared for what has happened to them and what might happen in the future.
We assist more than 60 agencies provide post-permanency services that are vital to helping families and children maintain their new connections.
In fact, SWAN’s services help children and families through all phases of their permanency journey. Each of SWAN’s services creates a roadmap for adoption providers to follow while helping county caseworkers deliver the best services and activities that will prepare children and families for their future lives together.
Our services also have evolved to include the Legal Service Initiative, which places paralegals in counties so that county workers can more successfully navigate the legal process of permanency and have time to spend with the children they are serving.
There is at least one SWAN paralegal in all but three of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and most have more than one. We also deliver training to caseworkers and other permanency partners to help them understand new regulations and best practices in our field. In addition, SWAN helps identify children in need of adoptive parents and tracks families who apply and are approved as foster, kinship or adoptive parents.
SWAN’s Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange matches children and families so they can become new families, providing much-needed and much-deserved permanence to children and older youths in foster care.
And that’s the reason we exist.
By Carolyn Hoffman
SWAN Technical Writer
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