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SWAN Legal Training Team Continues Virtual Presentations Through Fall

By Alyssa Holstay, Esq. and Shawn Sangster, Esq., SWAN Legal Training Specialists

SWAN’s team of legal training specialists (LTS) has spent the past year converting and fine-tuning presentations, adapting from in-person presentations to a virtual training format to continue delivering high-quality legal trainings to child welfare professionals across the state of Pennsylvania. We were excited to see that our online trainings have been “virtually” just as popular as in-person presentations. Our team has had the privilege of educating more than 3,750 individuals across the network about a variety of different legal training topics since May of 2020. 

Our team also has been working diligently to create new trainings that cover areas of the law that intersect with child welfare. These include trainings related to promoting a culture of inclusion for transgender youth, exploring how criminal law intersects (and in some instances, collides) with child welfare law, and trainings related to how various legal requirements and provisions impact father engagement.

The LTS team currently has several virtual statewide training opportunities scheduled to occur through September of 2021. The trainings scheduled for virtual presentation include “Adoption and PLC: Making the Choice,” “To Affinity and Beyond: The Significance of Siblings,” “It’s All Relative: Laws and Practice Regarding Relatives and Kin,” and “Pathways to Permanency: Legal Mandates of Fostering Connections and Act 55.”  All trainings are free of charge and Continuing Legal Education credits (CLEs) will be available at a small cost. If you or your agency could benefit from participation in any of these trainings, please reach out to Brooke Hess, training and conferencing administrative assistant at bhess@diakon-swan.org. With that said, we hope to “see” all of you at the virtual statewide offerings sometime soon.


Alyssa H. Holstay, Esquire currently serves as a SWAN legal training specialist, concentrating her efforts in the southcentral and southeastern regions of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining SWAN, Alyssa practiced in several areas of law including criminal law, family law, and service as a parents’ attorney in child welfare matters at both the trial and appellate levels. Alyssa is a graduate of Shippensburg University and the Widener Commonwealth School of Law.

Shawn A. Sangster, Esquire currently serves as a SWAN legal training specialist for the northwest region of Pennsylvania. Shawn brings a vast array of experience to the network; previously, he served as a county case manager (assistant director) for Jefferson County Children and Youth Services, an LSI paralegal for Jefferson County, and practiced immigration law in Philadelphia. Shawn holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Geneva College and a J.D. from Liberty University.


Published: July 21, 2021

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Article Links

  1. Alyssa Holstay, Esq
  2. Shawn Sangster, Esq
  3. bhess@diakon-swan.org