Articles Tagged Conference

  • 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
  • A Dream Come True

    Adoptee Dalton Bacco’s dream to provide children in foster care with opportunities to spend valuable time with caring individuals was brought to life by his parents, Frank and Kerri Bacco. The Baccos founded the Living the Dream Fund after Dalton’s sudden and tragic passing in 2017 as a way to honor Dalton’s life and carry on his spirit of generosity. The Fund was recently recognized with ...

    Posted on August 16th, 2021
  • Attendance Rates Increase, Connections Maintained through Virtual Events

    It’s been nearly one year since the COVID-19 pandemic brought in-person gatherings to an abrupt halt causing the network to shift standard events and meetings to a virtual format. While there are drawbacks and we miss the richness of face-to-face interactions, a silver lining has been the ability for more members to participate in network events and for connections among the network to be maintained.

    Posted on February 9th, 2021
  • Coming in February: Second Virtual Statewide Child Preparation Activity Swap

    Building on the success of last year’s first virtual Child Preparation Activity Swap, a second event is planned for February. The activity swap facilitates the exchange of ideas about child preparation activities among child preparation workers. The February event will feature activities related to the holidays.

    Posted on February 9th, 2021
  • Permanency Professional Honored for Perseverance and Passion

    Connie Snyder has been a frontline worker with Warren County Children and Youth for 13 years. In that time, she has found forever families for 64 children. While the number is itself impressive, Connie’s drive to never give up, even on the hardest-to-place children, even when her supervisor might say it’s time for plan B, is what is most impressive. Last summer, Connie received the Permanency Professional Recognition Award at the Pennsylvania Permanency Conference for her outstanding work.

    Posted on April 8th, 2020
  • COVID-19 Directives Continue

    The SWAN prime contractor will continue the important measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 until otherwise directed by the Department of Human Services/Office of Children, Youth and Families (DHS/OCYF). 

    Posted on April 3rd, 2020
  • National Social Work Month: Celebrating those who Strengthen Generations

    March 17th is known for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish, but this year it was also a special day for our profession. The entire month of March is National Social Work Month with the third Tuesday celebrated as World Social Work Day. For 2020, the National Association of Social Workers chose the theme “Generations Strong” to honor how social workers build healthier

    Posted on March 31st, 2020
  • Update on Response to COVID-19

    On March 17, we notified you regarding measures taken by the SWAN prime contractor to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The SWAN prime contractor will continue these important measures through April 3, 2020 or until otherwise directed by the Department of Human Services/Office of Children, Youth and Families (DHS/OCYF).

    Posted on March 27th, 2020
  • Centre County Orphan Care Alliance Gives Meaning to “Care Community”

    Imagine voicing one of your greatest needs and having a network of caring individuals respond in force.  Recently, a Centre County birth mother pursing reunification reported running out of firewood for winter heating. The Centre County Orphan Care Alliance (CCOCA) sprang into action ...

    Posted on February 18th, 2020
  • The McCleerys: A Family Built Through Connection and Compassion

    Adoption had been on the minds and hearts of Katie and Tobias McCleery for a long time. After the birth of their third child, they knew their family still had room to grow and that adoption would be their path forward. In 2012, the McCleerys became foster parents through Bethany Christian Services and welcomed their son Tyler into the family shortly after.

    Posted on January 6th, 2020
  • Millers Create Large, Warm, Loving Family

    Brooke and Tierra Miller always knew they wanted a big family. Both grew up in large, warm and loving families, and they wanted to provide the same experience for their own children. After discussing the options available to them to make that happen, they decided to become foster parents. 

    Posted on December 13th, 2019
  • Families, Agencies Invited to Attend Winter Statewide Meeting Matching Reception

    The Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families, Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) and Independent Living Services (IL) will sponsor a Matching Reception on January 22, 2020 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. at the 2020 SWAN/IL Winter Statewide Meeting, held at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, State College. 

    Posted on December 13th, 2019
  • Youth Advocate Grounded in Family, Faith and Focus

    For 16-year-old Alex Isbell, this season’s drop in temperatures and leaves signals one thing: running. Alex is training and competing for the East Pennsboro High School Girls Cross Country team. “Cross country helps me feel better about myself,” she says, “I get butterflies in my stomach every meet because I really want to do well and hit my goals.” While her running goals continue to push her out of her comfort zone, Alex finds support and friendship within her team. “We’re really fun and spirited, and we encourage one another,” she shares, “It’s very much like a family.”

    Posted on October 29th, 2019
  • Juvenile Justice Week: JCJC Collaboration Strengthens Joint Training

    As Juvenile Justice Week (October 6 – 12, 2019) is recognized in Pennsylvania, a collaborative training workgroup is taking a joint training titled Shared Case Responsibility: Maximizing Quality of Care for Children & Youth in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems into the final stretch of development. This group is comprised of SWAN prime contract staff and professionals from the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission (JCJC).

    Posted on October 16th, 2019
  • Proposals Invited for Annual Permanency Conference

    The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families; the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network; and Independent Living Services invites interested parties to submit workshop proposals for the 28th Annual Pennsylvania Permanency Conference. The submission deadline is October 25. The conference will be held June 17–19, 2020 at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania.

    Posted on October 1st, 2019
  • Educator Provides Permanency to Student Sibling Set

    It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes, and in the best-case scenarios, children and youth who seek permanency resources need look no further than their own village. Debbie Hiller represents a unique subset of this village: teachers and educational professionals. Recently, Ms. Hiller took some time to talk about the experience and process of adopting her three children.

    Posted on September 11th, 2019