Articles

  • 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
  • Spring Administrative Updates Posted

    As efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 continue, we want to thank your continued work to support children and families across the Commonwealth. While we are not able to meet in person at the Spring SWAN/IL Quarterly Meetings, the Administrative Updates that would have been distributed at the meetings have been posted here. Take a moment to catch up with news from DHS/OCYF, the prime contractor and the IL program.

    DHS/OCYF ...

    Posted on March 27th, 2020
  • Impact of and Response to COVID-19

    On March 16, 2020, per the directive of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Department of Human Services/Office of Children, Youth and Families (DHS/OCYF), the SWAN prime contractor took measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

    Posted on March 17th, 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
  • SWAN Affiliates Invited to Join SWAN Farm Show Exhibit

    The 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show will take place January 4 - 11, 2020 at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.  The Farm Show is attended by more than 100,000 people each year and offers a unique opportunity to recruit foster and adoptive families.  SWAN will have a display, and OCYF invites all SWAN affiliates to join in staffing the booth each day.

    Posted on December 13th, 2019
  • Love Builds a Happy, "Starr-Filled" Home

    No matter how a family is built, love is the foundation. And in the home of Tim and Renae Starr, there is plenty of love to go around. At the 2019 Pennsylvania Permanency Conference, Tim and Renae – and their six children – took the stage to accept a Permanent Family Recognition Award from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families. The scene brought tears to the eyes of many audience members.

    Posted on December 5th, 2019
  • National Adoption Month Celebrates, Promotes Families for Foster Children

    For 35 years, November has been designated as a time of celebration of adoptive families throughout the nation. In Pennsylvania, child-serving agencies, courts and communities take time out to honor families formed through adoption, reflect on lives of parents and children forever changed, and rally for the children still waiting for a family to call their own.

    Posted on November 20th, 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
  • Lehigh County Foster Children Picnic Heats Up the Fun

    Despite the heat on July 19, nearly 100 children enjoyed the Fun Day Picnic, planned and hosted by Lehigh County Children, Youth and Family Services. Children of all ages attended, including those in out-of-home placement, children from other counties in local foster homes, Valley Youth House residents, and foster families’ biological children. The “hottest” features were a DJ, pizza, and a photo booth, all of which were donated or discounted.

    Posted on October 1st, 2019
  • In Tribute: Tonya Hottenstein, SWAN Helpline Lead Coordinator

    The SWAN Prime Contractor is profoundly saddened by the death of SWAN Helpline Lead Coordinator Tonya Hottenstein, who passed away on September 12 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. A 20-year employee of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Tonya’s impact on adoptive families was widespread and fueled by her passion for serving others, her personal advocacy on behalf of woman and children, and her deep reserve of love and caring for SWAN Helpline callers and colleagues.

    Posted on October 1st, 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
  • IL Retreat Promotes Connection and Permanency

    Each year, the Independent Living Project organizes a retreat for older youth, which is held in August at the University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown campus. This year, the program featured a multitude of events, including sports, crafts, cooking, and many more activities to promote teambuilding and connection for the youth who attend the event.

    Posted on September 13th, 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
  • New Tools for Post-Adoption Contract Agreement (PACA) Conversations

    Two new voluntary PACA information sheets have been developed as tools to help facilitate conversations with older youth and families. Voluntary Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: An Explanation for Youth is written to use with youth while Voluntary Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: An Explanation for Families is to begin discussion with birth relatives and pre-adoptive families.

    Posted on March 22nd, 2018
  • SWAN Permanency Toolkit Released

    The Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) is pleased to announce the release of the web-based SWAN Permanency Toolkit, an online resource guide about adoption and permanency practices in PA.  In it, you will find permanency-related topics such as the SWAN units of service and benchmarks, online trainings, statistics about children in out-of-home care, relevant foster care and adoption laws and bulletins and regulations issued by the Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth ...

    Posted on May 1st, 2017
  • SWAN Post-Permanency Video

    Diakon/FDR’s video about SWAN Post-Permanency services features families sharing their stories about how the services impacted their lives.  This video is available on the SWAN prime contract website at http://www.diakon-swan.org/postpermanency/ at the bottom of the page.

    The video will help families learn more about SWAN Post-Permanency services. Affiliates can use the video to highlight services available throughout the permanency process, including during resource family training.

    The video is the ...

    Posted on August 27th, 2015
  • Two Ways to Contact Helpline

    Helpline is the single point of contact for families to access SWAN Post-Permanency services at 1-800-585-7926 (SWAN).

    Now, in addition to phone contact during normal business hours, families can also contact the Helpline during non-business hours by email at SWANHelpline@diakon-swan.org.  Email inquiries are answered promptly and can help families access needed services during non-traditional working hours.

    During normal business hours, Helpline staff continues to assist families, lets them know if they are eligible ...

    Posted on August 27th, 2015