Articles Tagged Conference, page 1

  • Celebrating Families and Commitments to Connection

    Having just wrapped up the holiday season, we are reminded it is a time for families to come together in celebration and connection. As a permanency network, we know that families come in all shapes and sizes and are built in an infinite number of ways. At last summer’s annual Pennsylvania Permanency Conference, we celebrated three families, each of which had a unique kinship or birth family connection..

    Posted on January 10th, 2024
  • The Power of Saying Yes: How one Woman Re-defined Foster Care for Older Youth

    Valerie Crabbe remembers having a dream to adopt a little girl since she was just a little girl herself. Fast forward to the age of 38 when a recruitment flyer for foster parents caught her attention in the grocery store. 

    Posted on December 13th, 2023
  • It Takes a Village…or One Collaborative Team

    United in its vision for permanency, a seven-person team was honored for its collaborative efforts in helping provide stability to a child in foster care at the June 2023 Annual Pennsylvania Permanency Conference. 

    Posted on December 13th, 2023
  • Empowering Youth and Finding Connections: National Adoption Month 2023

    November has been a month of adoption recognition for nearly 40 years, beginning with a national adoption week recognition in 1984. Led by the Children’s Bureau, the theme for this year’s campaign is “Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection.” which focuses on giving space for youth to have agency and a say in the decisions that impact their lives, as well as embracing and affirming their racial and cultural identities as factors to ...

    Posted on November 7th, 2023
  • Fostering a Family Engagement Philosophy

    Dubbed “one of the most amazing families,” Anthony and Jessica Johnston are setting the gold standard for what it means to be a foster and adoptive family. The couple was awarded a Permanent Family Recognition award at the 2023 Pennsylvania Permanency Conference for their outstanding record in providing quality care to children and families. 

    Posted on November 6th, 2023
  • June Events Celebrate Dedication, Gird Continued Work

    The network gathered in Northeast Pennsylvania for two back-to-back events in June—the SWAN/IL Summer Statewide Meeting (SSW) and the 31st Pennsylvania Permanency Conference—where celebrations and affirmations took center stage. Reading’s own, Dr. Veirdra Jackson, kicked off the week with her SSW keynote, which spoke to every person’s want and need to belong.

    Posted on August 7th, 2023
  • New SWAN Program Administrator Embodies Permanency Advocacy

    Tammy Hendrix, DSW, MSW, LCSW has been named the next SWAN program administrator, succeeding Judi Damiano, who retired February 10, 2023. Tammy has served the SWAN prime contractor in various technical assistance roles since 2004 and has worked in the network since 1994. 

    Posted on April 4th, 2023
  • Speaking through Advocacy and Impact: Recognizing Michelle

    Michelle Matthews doesn’t really like to talk about herself; however, her work and impact as the social work supervisor in foster care for Bethany Christian Services of Western PA tells her story for her. Michelle is a champion for both resource families and first families.

    Posted on April 4th, 2023
  • SWAN Winter Statewide Meeting Featured Tools, Connection

    More than 400 members of the network gathered at the Penn Stater Conference Center on January 25th and 26th for valuable training, in-person networking, and a centralized matching event. The SWAN Winter Statewide Meeting returned to in-person for the first time since 2019 after being held virtually for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Posted on February 17th, 2023
  • Needle in a Haystack: Finding the Right Family

    Older Child Matching Initiative (OCMI) recruiter Mandy Somerville likes to refer to the Barnes/Axon family as the “needle.” In her position, she is assigned youth who need permanency but are especially hard to match with families due to mental or physical health issues, length of time in foster care, the youth giving up hope, or a combination of challenges. Mandy related that finding the right family for a child can be like “finding a needle in a haystack.” When it happens, it is special.

    Posted on December 8th, 2022
  • National Adoption Month: Small Steps Lead to Great Outcomes

    For 38 years, November has been recognized as National Adoption Month—a time to increase awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the foster care system, and recognize the value of engaging youth. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf also issued a proclamation recognizing November as Adoption Awareness Month in the Commonwealth.

    Posted on November 4th, 2022
  • The Art of Selflessness

    We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” For Pennsylvania’s children and youth in foster care, these words take on greater significance when it comes to finding permanency. Every day, these children and youth are navigating trauma, a multitude of changes, uncertainty, education, relationships, and much more. Simultaneously, dedicated permanency workers are writing strengths-based narratives for them, collaborating with counties on information sharing processes, and employing a variety of recruitment strategies to match them with permanent families.

    Posted on September 26th, 2022
  • Youth Advocate Award Winner Raises the Bar

    Julia Mueller is a “wonder woman in the making,” according to her nominee, Shayla Jones. The recipient of the 2022 Youth Advocate Recognition award, Julia is a glowing example of a young woman turning lemons into lemonade. As an alumnus of the foster care system, Julia’s firsthand experiences in care, combined with her persistent and focused temperament, have given her an influential voice on the Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board.

    Posted on September 26th, 2022
  • Professionals Honored with Teamwork Award Exemplify Perseverance, Support and Unity

    Standing on stage in a packed banquet hall at the 2022 Pennsylvania Permanency Conference’s recognition banquet, six child welfare professionals received this year’s Permanency Teamwork Award. The individuals honored were Tiffany Wettstein, Christine Walter, Megan Maier, Charlotte Kiker and Julia Sullender. These individuals represent a collective powerhouse, exemplifying a collaborative team who promoted permanency for a remarkable 20-year-old named Prince.

    Posted on August 30th, 2022
  • SWAN Celebrates 30th Anniversary at June Events

    There’s a saying, “When we’re together, everything falls into place.” This could easily define the 2022 SWAN/IL Summer Statewide Meeting (SSW) and Pennsylvania Permanency Conference, which were held in person for the first time since 2019. 

    Posted on August 8th, 2022
  • Meet Rachel Kuhr: Permanency Scholar, Mentor and Advocate

    As we look forward to this summer’s Pennsylvania Permanency Conference, we invite you to get to know 2021’s Permanency Professional Award recipient, Rachel Kuhr. If you’ve ever been to a SWAN conference, statewide meeting, or central region quarterly meeting, you know Rachel. If she’s not sharing her knowledge as a presenter, she is listening intently – usually while crocheting – and asking all the right questions to achieve clarity and improve service delivery for children in out-of-home care.

    Posted on March 28th, 2022
  • Permanency Team Honored for their Dedication to a Special Three-Year-Old Boy

    Three-year-old Angel has had a unique journey to permanency. Medical needs, distant placements, and a global pandemic created some challenges for his team to solve. However, Heather Miller, Christina Cross, and Barbara Black were up to the task. These women worked tirelessly, along with the support of numerous other team members, to help Angel find his home—a place where he could have his first birthday and Christmas celebrations in a true family setting. They ...

    Posted on January 14th, 2022
  • Meet the Marshalls: Playing for Keeps

    When it comes to caring for older youth, Dana and Bill Marshall “play for keeps.” Whether permanency comes in the form of formal adoption or custody through a more informal arrangement, the Marshalls consider every youth who has entered their home to be family. Older Child Matching Initiative (OCMI) Recruiter, Marian Kolcum, witnessed their love and dedication first-hand through the family’s adoption experience with their son, Dean. Marian nominated the family ...

    Posted on January 13th, 2022
  • The Langsdorfs: A Family Formed by Fate

    One summer morning at the Renzie Park Farmers Market in McKeesport, Heather and David Langsdorf noticed an information booth for Auberle, a faith-based social services agency that was recruiting foster parents. Heather always wanted to be a foster parent, so they immediately went over to the booth to learn more. Without hesitating, Heather and David decided to apply to be foster parents and were certified in Fall 2018. They ...

    Posted on November 3rd, 2021
  • Honoring Permanency: The Fritz Family

    Each summer, the Pennsylvania Permanency Conference recognizes permanent families who inspire hope, challenge barriers, and share stories of commitment and love. Helen and Andy Fritz are one of the amazing families honored at the 2021 conference. The couple was nominated by Katie Kalp of Children’s Home of York, who noted that Helen and Andy support the best interests of each child by remaining open to safe and healthy ...

    Posted on November 2nd, 2021