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WHAT IS SWAN ANYWAY? What does SWAN stand for?

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1 WHAT IS SWAN ANYWAY? What does SWAN stand for?
What was child welfare like before SWAN? Who started SWAN and when? Why was SWAN started? SWAN stands for the Statewide Adoption and Permanency network . Explore with participants what the child welfare system was like previous to SWAN: We really did not use the work permanency much. There was little urgency involved in moving children through to permanency. It was “good enough” to keep children in foster care. Most counties were responsible for the matching, selection, supervision and finalization of adoptions within their agency. Little attention was paid to the permanency needs of older children. County workers did not have support to pursue permanency due to the need to attend to the crises and job responsibilities of a normal caseload. In the past foster parents were discouraged from adopting their foster children, some agencies made foster families sign a statement that they would not pursue adopting their foster children. 3. All of the children who needed a permanent home were not identified. 5. If a match occurred, Families had to cover the costs of an adoption or payment was negotiated with each placement. 6. There was little to no consistency regarding permanency practice throughout each county not to mention throughout the state. D. SWAN is a concept, not an agency. SWAN was initiated in 1992 because of then Governor Casey’s belief that children in foster care needed supported. A model of collaboration between county agencies and private adoption agencies was proposed to promote adoption of children from PA’s foster care system. The program was originally designed for children with a goal of adoption. In 2003 the population of children eligible for SWAN services was expanded to include children and youth with any permanency goal. Remind the audience of the SWAN values SWAN was created to: Ensure that every child needing a permanent home was known to the permanency community. No children should fall through the cracks. Provide a means of funding to encourage families to adopt waiting children Provide a way for families who wanted to adopt children to find them within the child welfare system. To encourage the development of best practice standards within the PA child welfare system To encourage standardization of best practice within the state. (67 different ways of doing things) Provide permanency services where no services existed in the state. Ultimately to find permanent homes for children languishing in the foster care system. E. SWAN is unique to Pennsylvania, no other state has this type of service delivery system. Workers should be proud to be a part of something that actually contributes to child well being. The next couple of slides will clarify further what SWAN is.

2 SWAN MISSION Every child in foster care deserves to achieve permanency in a timely manner Every child with a goal of adoption deserves a permanent family County agencies must be supported to prioritize and provide permanency services Activity suggestion: Use index cards/one mission per card. Have group break up into groups of 2 and give each group a card. Ask them to discuss with each other what they did recently that actualized this goal if anything, or what they imagine they could do to impact that mission. Report out quickly

3 SWAN MISSION Delays in achieving permanency must not be due to: Race
Culture Age Geography Ability Case priority level

4 SWAN MISSION Permanent families must be developed for every waiting child Resource families who step forward to provide “Continuum of Care” to children in child welfare system must be supported to remain intact

5 WHO IS SWAN? Exercise: Have participants identify SWAN key player and record answers on a flipchart. As stated earlier SWAN is a network, made up of the players identified in this slide. All of these parties play a particular role to ensure that the network runs smoothly and stays focused on providing permanency for children. This network is all about relationships and the development of trust. Define what an affiliate adoption agency is: note that not all foster care agencies are SWAN affiliates Define County CYS agency Take a moment to remind audience who is in the room, if no affiliates or counties mention a few that are located in the region you are presenting. Use the SWAN contact to assist you. SWAN is currently used by all 67 counties and there are 80 affiliates.

6 SWAN UNITS OF SERVICE Child profile Child preparation
Child Specific Recruitment Family Preparation and Profile Child Placement Finalization Post permanency services

Children in the custody of a Pennsylvania County Agency Families who express an interest in providing permanency for children in the custody of a county agency Pennsylvania children in need of post permanency services Exercise: Post some of the following questions: Would a child from New Jersey’s child welfare system qualify for SWAN services? Would a child adopted as an infant privately be eligible for post permanency services? Would a youth receiving IL services be eligible for SWAN services? Would a grandmother raising her grandson be eligible for SWAN services? Would the child you envisioned at the beginning of the workshop be eligible? B. Show criteria and review. This information is located in the SWAN bulletin. Post some questions: Would a youth receiving IL services be eligible for SWAN services?

It is really quite simple to make and receive a SWAN referral. All can be done online. The county makes the referral to SWAN. SWAN staff process the referral and send it electronically to the affiliate. The affiliate determines if they can complete the work. If they can, they contact the county worker listed on the referral and begin planning to deliver the requested service or services. If they cannot complete the work the affiliate contacts the county and requests that it be withdrawn and reassigned. Once the services are completed the affiliate requests that the county certify the work. The county certifies the work which allows the affiliate to invoice the SWAN PC. The PC then pays the affiliate for the work completed. B. You need to make sure you are aware how that happens in your agency. This would be the time to have the agency SWAN contact describe the agency’s policies regarding referrals.

9 SWAN Benchmarks Provide a step by step outline to guide the SWAN units of service. Used to document where an agency is in the process of completing the service. Are submitted to the Prime Contract in order to bill for the service upon completion. Basic step that indicate what needs to be done by the affiliate. You should be familiar with the steps if you refer the unit of service. Are completed by the affiliate. An affiliate should be able to tell you where they are in the process of completing the unit. Affiliate needs to complete all the Benchmarks and submit them for payment. These benchmarks are the WHAT. They are the Steps of the Process for the specific unit of service. HOW these steps are carried out often varies- due to age, needs different placement circumstances of each child/youth

10 What is a Child Profile? Document Review Snapshot
Collaborative Process Activity: Break into groups and assign units of service, allow discussion and then after reporting out: go over what was missed. document that can be completed for all children in the custody of C&Y services regardless of their permanency goal. Historically we saw this being referred for children with goal of adoption (mandated. An Accurate and thorough review of a child’s emotional, social and medical history that is distilled into a snapshot or profile of the uniqueness of each child. Identifies a youth’s strengths and needs There is a process when completing the Child Profile which needs to be a collaborative effort including all of the significant people in the youth’s life.

11 The Intent and Purpose of the Child Profile
To provide an accurate history. To establish an informational resource. To maintain a chronology of life events To reflect the uniqueness of each youth. To provide an accurate history of the youth’s background and placement history, including cultural influences. Culture-dynamic pattern of learned behaviors, values and beliefs exhibited by a group of people that share historic and geographical proximity. The writer is challenged is to Identify, capture, retain the most important examples of the values beliefs and behaviors of the child’s birth family. This will be done to provide the child with the fullest richest account of the culture the child was first raised in. This is done to provide the child with the may include traditions around birthdays, holidays and important life transitions To establish an informational resource for the child later in his/her life. To maintain, for a youth, a chronology of life events allowing for a developmental perspective that includes valuable birth family events and placement activities. To reflect a “picture or profile” of the uniqueness of each youth - one that upon reading at a later stage of his/her life, the youth has a truer sense of who they are and who has played significant roles in their lives.

12 The Intent and Purpose of the Child Profile (cont.)
To introduce youth to resource families. To identify connections. To highlight the youth’s strengths and risk areas. To predict post-permanency services. To introduce children to prospective resource families, (when appropriate)—giving these families an overview or “picture” of the child. To identify past, present and future connections for a youth. To recognize and highlight each child’s strengths and possible risk areas to assist in preparing a child for permanency. To predict post-permanency needs.

13 The Child Profile is NOT meant to be:
A clinical assessment. The sole source of information on a youth. The full disclosure activity to present a child. The profile is not meant to be a clinical assessment of the child or used as a sole source of information on a child's life and, therefore, must not be used as the full disclosure activity to present children to prospective resource parents.

14 Why is a Child Profile so Important?
We can never go back and recapture what is lost. The sooner we start to gather the information, the more we will ultimately know about our children. Regardless of the goal, it is our duty to record the time a child is with us in care. There are no “do-overs” in the life of a child

15 Role of the County in the Process
Charged with Safety and Well-Being of the Child Provide oversight to the Profile process. Provide information and access to information on the youth. Help prepare the caregiver for the process. Runs interference.

16 Child Profile – Content The content of the Child Profile should:
Be detailed and factual. Show sensitivity in stating information. Reflect the areas that address the five questions that youth are consistently looking to have answered. Follow the outline in the SWAN Bulletin. In conjunction with child preparation activities, the content of the Child Profile should reflect the areas that address the five questions that children are consistently looking to have answered. Those questions are: Who am I?, What happened to me?, Where am I going?, How will I get there?, and, When will I know I belong? Overall, the Profile is framed in these areas.

17 What is Child Preparation?
As children enter into permanency, certain issues need to be addressed for them to “move forward.” These issues need to be addressed regardless of the age of the child or the type of permanency. Child Preparation enables a child to examine their past, present and future and encourages the child to ask questions, voice their feelings and get answers. Child Preparation is a specialized process, which requires working with the child to understand the child’s perspective of the events of his/her life. Child Preparation assists the child in making sense out of his/her life by providing a factual base for the child to clarify what is real and what is not. Child Preparation aims to develop a child’s ability to understand his/her connections and membership in numerous families and begin to visual their membership in a permanent family.

18 What is Child Preparation?
Most children who experience great loss, struggle with these core issues: 1. Grief/Loss 2. Abandonment 3. Identity 4. Control 5. Loyalty 6. Attachment 7. Shame Brief review of how each CORE issue impacts children in out of home care Grief & Loss-Grief can be defined as “deep and poignant distress caused by being left desolate and alone.” Grief is an issue for every child in care. Grief for children is the disruption of a bond, and in any foster situation, significant bonds have been disrupted or broken, making foster children more emotionally vulnerable when other losses occur. Abandonment is to leave somebody behind for others to look after, especially somebody meant to be a personal responsibility Children and youth in care struggle with feelings of rejection and abandonment by their birthparents. and may feel abandoned and rejected by each significant person that has cared for them throughout their lives. Feeling abandoned is an extremely painful and anxiety provoking sensation. Youth not only lose their loved ones, they lose their sense of self, their security and identity. Children may turn their rage about being rejected against themselves which accounts for depression, interference in future relationships and injurious behaviors. Identity is the set of characteristics that somebody recognizes as belonging uniquely to himself or herself and constituting his or her individual personality for life.The sense of identity appears early on in life. An infant can identify his mother’s smell and voice and prefers his mother over others. When any youth loses a person, place or thing that is important to him, a part of his identity is lost, causing distress and pain. Children in care who have been removed from their birth families and have been in several placements consistently and often lose the people, places and things with which they identify. This damages their feelings of security, attachment and identity or sense of self. Accompanying these issues of identity are issues of self-esteem, how the child feels about himself. Children without a sense of identity often feel out of place, unwelcome and rejected. Control speaks of the ability or authority to manage or direct something: to exercise power or authority over something. When children have been abused or neglected, the developmental struggle for control does not get resolved. Children are not helped to feel capable or allowed choices. They may fight for control where they can find it, such as with a pet or younger sibling, but they do not learn how and when to impose limits on their own behavior. When youth do not learn self-mastery through normal human development, they may not be able to control their impulses. They may expect others to provide external controls rather than take responsibility for their own lives in such things as getting up for school, completing assignments, finishing chores, etc Loyalty is term that describes a person’s devotion or sense of attachment to another person or group. When children come into care they often struggle with loyalty issues: “the child may believe that if he is accepting of the placement and becomes emotionally close to his subsequent caregivers that he is being disloyal to the birthparents. Likewise, he may subsequently believe that positive feelings about the birth family indicate disloyalty to the foster family (Fahlberg, V., 1998).” Attachment is an emotional bond or tie to somebody or something. Healthy attachments occur between child and caregiver from repeated acts of nurturing, protection, care and stimulation. Early relationships serve as the building blocks for future relationships. Attachment to a protective and loving caregiver who provides guidance and support is a basic human need and the process of bonding and attachment is critical in a child learning to trust others. The lack of healthy attachments and reluctance to trust others negatively affects a child’s self-esteem, behavioral and academic performance, empathy and compassion towards others, long-term friendships/relationships as well as the child’s ability to manage impulses and feelings. Shame is a feeling that there is a defect in one's self; that one is inadequate, worthless and inferior. Shame is experienced internally, affecting the child in all areas of development. As the child internally judges himself, he finds shame in who he is as opposed to what he does. Feelings of shame lead to self-doubt, isolation, and depression. Children/youth who experience shame as a result of abuse or neglect are not able learn from social situations that normally shape acceptable behavior. Instead, they view social experiences and parental discipline as affirmation of their worthlessness.

19 Child-Centered, Child-Focused Goals
Gives Children a Voice! Honors the Past! Answers the Questions! Makes the Connections! Looks to the Future! We first communicate with the outside world with our voices. Infants cannot walk or grasp, but they can let out cries to communicate with their primary caregivers. If their voices are met with acceptance and help to meet their needs, they soon come to realize the tremendous power of the voice. However, when our voices are not met with acceptance, people will stop raising their voices. Children will grow quiet when constantly faced with a lack of response. Even in adult relationships a major problem is often a lack of communication. Many types of therapy work on improving communication skills. In Child Preparation we recognize the importance of the voice. We know that encouraging a child to voice her feelings and emotions is part of the healing process. The best Child Preparation allows the child to use her voice to help define subjects that are important to her. It gives her the freedom and encouragement to express her emotions with her voice, and to once again recognize its power.

20 Who can use this service?
All children living in out-of-home placement are eligible to receive this service, including those with a goal of: Reunification Adoption Permanent Legal Custodianship Fit and Willing Relative Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA)

21 Child Preparation Plan:
Defines the roles of county and affiliate. Pulls resources together. Describes how the work will proceed.

22 Role of the County Agency
Participate in development of child preparation plan Oversee the work and make critical decisions. Inform caregivers that Child Preparation work will begin. Explain that the county is supporting and directing the process. Provide access to all known information about the child. Be prepared to assist the worker in supporting the family The county agency is charged with the safety and well-being of the child. Beginning with the plan, the county worker directs the work and is a critical part of the process. Why did you make the referral, what are your expected outcomes, what do you already know about the child that will impact the work or engagement, what do you know about the current caregiver, what work has already been done. RTF—how can you help affiliates be successful Critical decisions such as, Whether to continue the process if problems are encountered Who may be contacted to make connection for children Whether the Child Preparation worker can take the child on outings

23 The Work of Child Preparation
. TIME FRAME: In Pennsylvania, we currently require 10 SESSIONS over a 6 MONTH period. CHILD’S PACE: Need to be responsive to each child and where they are in the process.

24 The Work of Child Preparation
. Individual session - allows for one-on-one in-depth exploration of children’s feelings and emotional responses to discussions and activities. Group work- allows the child to engage in activities and discussions with other children who have experienced similar life events. Children in groups should be of a similar age or “readiness.”. A combination - The use of group work and individual sessions can use the strengths of both approaches and ensure children receive the opportunity to share with peers and also work with experienced workers on more personal, painful issues. The relationship between worker and child is essential to the success of individual work. Individual sessions also allow for meeting settings to be more flexible and take into account the child’s location and interests. Children may find common ground in their abuse, neglect and placement experiences. A supportive climate among peers allows children to express thoughts and feelings that otherwise might not surface in one-on-one sessions with an adult. Groups also make it possible to leverage worker time by meeting with more children at a time. Two group workers are generally recommended. The drawbacks include a limited opportunity to explore subjects in-depth with children and taboo topics that could result in reluctance to engage in activities or discussions

25 Meeting Activity Report
This report is submitted to the county every other month to summarize the meeting activities between the affiliate and the child.

26 Child Preparation Final Summary
This report is submitted to the county at the completion of the child preparation activity or at the end of the six month plan.

27 What Is The Purpose of CSR?
To Find a Permanent Resource for a Child/Youth To Assist Youth in Making Permanent Connections

28 The New Face of CSR Current initiatives and impact on current CSR practice Fostering Connections Family Finding Emphasis of the State and all initiatives is to find quicker permanency for all children. CSR is a critical unit of service in providing permanency more quickly for some of our most hard to place children and youth. Traditionally, much of CSR practice had been geared towards matching children with already approved families. However, CSR practice can be enhanced to meet the expectations of current initiatives, including: Fostering Connections: Promoting Permanent Families for Children in Foster Care With Relatives • Notice to Relatives When Children Enter Care. Increases opportunities for relatives to step in when children are removed from their parents and placed in foster care by ensuring they get notice of this removal. • Kinship Navigator Programs. Guarantees funds for Kinship Navigator programs, through new Family Connection grants, to help connect children living with relatives, both in and out of foster care, with the supports and assistance they need. • Subsidized Guardianship Payments for Relatives. are licensed. Family Finding. Refer to chart and timeline of a case—where CSR referrals are made that were traditionally not even thought of. How does this change practice? County can get help to implement Fostering connections mandate to search for relatives. Use of FGDM and similar family conferencing options Concurrent planning (noted as deficient in CFSR) can happen here as traditional CSR can be underway at the same time as newer practices are being carried out.

29 Children Aging Out Are Asking:
Have you done everything possible for me? If I was your child, would you have done more?

30 Guidelines to Providing CSR
Counties can do their own or make a referral to an affiliate Create a plan in conjunction with relevant people including the child Review it regularly Benchmarks outline the steps Refer to the benchmarks to outline the steps

31 Finding Permanency Characteristics of Successful Counties
Understand the importance of the worker’s attitude in achieving permanency Top goal is PERMANENCY Open to a variety of families (non-traditional, single, out of state, all income levels) No geographic boundaries Open about subsidy if it provides permanency Recruitment Strategies that offer Opportunities to meet Teens Parents proceed at varying speeds, programs should accommodate the parents’ needs “Stretching Process is very important part of the process Allowing adequate visitation

32 Basic Tools CSR Plan Child Matching Log CSR Plan – Inquires
Child Registration w/ PAE Diligent Search Flyers/Power Point Child Prep Waiting Child Segments Life Book Sears Photos Various Adoption Web Sites How the county worker can facilitate these pieces

33 Building a Successful CSR Unit: What can a county do?
Being involved with the plan can clearly identify the child’s needs & strengths County and affiliate worker meeting face to face Meets monthly to review possible families Referring for Child Prep/Child Profile/CSR Empowering CSR staff to be involved in the selection process Review the CSR plan and highlight county worker’s involvement and ongoing commitment to partner in the service

FAMILY PROFILE COUNTY AND AFFILIATE REFERRED CAN BE USED FOR ALL PERMANENCY GOALS 120 DAY TIMELINE Ask participants if anyone is familiar with the family profile unit of service. If so, have the individual describe what it is and how they used the unit. If needed briefly describe family prep and profile: This unit of service can be referred by an affiliate and is known as an Affiliate Referred Family Profile or by a county and is known as a county referred Family Profile. Family Profiles can be used by a county for families pursuing adoption, PLC and kinship relationships with children in care. Family Preparation/profile is a service that both engages the family in a process and results in a document that is then used in several different ways. The process actually starts when a family becomes aware that there are children waiting or becomes aware that they are going to be asked to provide permanency for a specific child. The affiliate has 120 days to complete the family profile from the point of referral. The family is provided with at least 24 hours of training on subjects such as understanding who the children are, how grief and loss affect children, the consequences of abuse and neglect, etc. A thorough review of the family’s motivation, finances, abilities to parent, readiness for permanency and support system is completed. Finally a family profile is written: Hold up a family profile. Eventhough we have guidelines we know that families need to move at a speed that is comfortable for them. At every step along the way families need to decide to jump off the abyss

SAFETY NURTURING COMMITMENT The family profile process is incredibly important to ensuring permanency for a waiting child. This process should explore with the family their ability to provide a child with a safe, nurturing and committed home. The document must be able to answer all three of these concerns. The document should provide a sense of who this family is and how they will parent. Eventhough we have timelines for completion of the family profile, the process should be governed by the needs of the family. All along the way, families are making decisions before jumping off the abyss.

HELPS FAMILIES MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE PROCESS IDENTIFIES MOTIVATION, STRENGTHS AND AREAS WHERE THE FAMILY MAY NEED ASSISTANCE PREPARE FAMILIES FOR ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLES OF THEIR LIVES PROVIDES THE COUNTY WITH INFORMATION NEEDED IN SELECTING A FAMILY PROVIDES THE COURT WITH NECESSARY INFORMATION Ask audience why they would refer family profile. Be prepared to give examples from your own experiences. Ask your supervisor division members for assistance if needed. You may want to have several examples available so you do not get repetitious. Providing permanency to a child is the one of the most life changing events a family will experience. It is critical that all families have the information they need to make critical decisions throughout the entire process. The family prep process should help families identify the strengths and resources they will access following placement along with envisioning the challenges they may experience. The family profile is used by counties in the selection process when they are matching children with families. Finally the family profile is used during the court hearing when finalization, kinship or PLC are being considered.

Activities related to matching waiting children and families Activities involved in pre-placement and transitioning child into home Filing of Report of Intent Referred only for children with a goal of adoption Ask participants if anyone is familiar with the placement unit of service. If so, have the individual describe what it is and how they used the unit. B. If needed briefly describe child placement: Child placement is a unit that pays for the activities an affiliate engages with a family to locate a child or youth. These activities are outlined in a plan developed between the affiliate and the family. They may include creating brochures, flyers, and other material to highlight the family, presenting the family at various activities and helping the family identify children they wish to be considered for. The affiliate is also responsible for acting as a liason between the county and the family during the selection process. They normally accompany the family on interviews and help the family understand all of the information that is presented to them about a child. C. Once a selection is made, the affiliate assists the family and county in coordinating pre-placement visits. This can be a critical factor in whether or not the placement results in a permanent home for the child. D. Following placement, the affiliate completes a permanency plan with the family, and ensures (supports) that the Report of Intent to Adopt is filed within 30 days of placement.

Affiliates should receive reimbursement for activities related to searching for a family for a child A child’s successful transition into a permanent home requires attention and skill Ask audience why they would refer child placement. Be prepared to give examples from your own experiences. Ask your supervisor and division members for assistance if needed. You may want to have several examples available so you do not get repetitious. The permanency process and the child welfare system in general are very confusing, even for us, imagine what a family must be feeling as they try to navigate this what must seem to them a never ending and disorienting journey. By referring the placement unit of service you are ensuring that families and children continue to be able to receive assistance and advocacy at critical times in the permanency process.

ACTIVITIES FROM PLACEMENT TO FINALIZATION REFERRED FOR CHILDREN WITH A GOAL OF ADOPTION Ask participants if anyone is familiar with the finalization unit of service. If so, have the individual describe what it is and how they used the unit. If needed briefly describe the finalization unit of service: Finalization is referred for children and youth who are placed with families that are going to adopt them. It covers all of the activities that are involved in ensuring that the child and family adjust to one another. These activities include: monitoring the permanency plan, supervising the placement, completing progress reports and completing the court documents needed for finalization.

GEOGRAPHY SHOULD NOT GET IN THE WAY OF PERMANENCY. FINALIZATION IS MORE THAN A DAY IN COURT SUCCESSFUL ADOPTIONS REQUIRE FAMILY AND CHILD CENTERED PERMANENCY ORIENTED SUPERVISION. MANY FAMILIES WILL NEED SUPPORT IN THE FUTURE. WHO WILL THEY CONTACT? Ask audience why they would refer finalization. Be prepared to give examples from your own experiences. Ask your supervisor division members for assistance if needed. You may want to have several examples available so you do not get repetitious. A county worker should utilize the resources of the entire state when they are searching for a home for a child or youth. Finalization unit supports the county in placing a child outside their county of origin. An affiliate in the proximity of the county the child has moved to supervises the placement and supports the family and child to finalization. Also, can we mention the monthly visits? Finalization is more than the day the child is adopted. A tremendous amount of energy and attention should be directed to ensure the stability of the placement. Following the adoption, because the finalization unit of service has been referred, the family has an agency to contact far into the future should they need assistance.

FAMILIES ARE ELIGIBLE IF THEY HAVE ADOPTED, PROVIDE KINSHIP CARE OR LEGAL CUSTODIANSHIP ACCESSED BY FAMLIES CONTACTING THE HELPINE ( SWAN) FAMILY-DRIVEN SERVICES SERVICES PROVIDED BY AFFILIATES ASSESSMENT/CASE ADVOCACY RESPITE SUPPORT GROUP Ask participants if anyone is familiar with the post permanency units of service. If so, have the individual describe what it is and how they used the unit. If needed briefly describe post permanency services: Post permanency services are available to Pennsylvania families who have adopted privately, internationally or through the child welfare system, provided formal kinship care or legal custodianship to a child. No other state offers this level of support to resource families. Families access the services by calling the helpline. I will describe the helpline later. At that time an affiliate is chosen to begin providing services. The affiliate assigned to the family will begin by completing an assessment of the family within 30 days. Following the assessment a family support plan is developed. Community services are accessed along with SWAN funded services such as advocacy, respite and support group. Case Advocacy involves ensuring that families access the services they need after providing permanency for a child. Respite purchases planned time away from the child in a way that encourages attachment and maintains the stability of the placement. Support groups provide a way for families to connect with other resource families and support the stability of the placement

ALL FAMILIES NEED SUPPORT AT TIMES. FAMILIES PROVIDING PERMANENCY HAVE A RIGHT TO ACCESS SUPPORT WHEN THEY NEED IT. POST PERMANENCY SERVICES CAN PREVENT REENTRY INTO FOSTER CARE Ask audience why families should be encouraged to utilize post permanency services. Be prepared to give examples from your own experiences. Ask your supervisor division members for assistance if needed. You may want to have several examples available so you do not get repetitious. All families need support at one time or another. Resource families are asked to take on one of the greatest challenges in their lives, it is imperative that a support system is available to prevent reentry of children into foster care.

THE HELPLINE ( SWAN) THE SWAN WEBSITE ( DIAKON PORTAL SYSTEM SWAN NETWORK MEETINGS PENNSYLVANIA ADOPTION EXCHANGE (PAE) ( LEGAL SERVICES INITIATIVE PROGRAM (LSI) Along with the services you can purchase or provide. These resources are available to assist you in promoting permanency for children and in providing the best service possible to The Helpline is again unique to Pennsylvania and a tremendous resource not only to affiliates and to counties but also to families. The helpine is a phone accessed resource system. The women who staff the helpine are available to talk to any family interested in providing permanency for PA children. If questioned about the SWAN program, do not hesitate to give families the phone number. They are able to provide families with resources in their area and through a series of follow-up phone calls encourage families to remain engaged in the search process. Through this process they are able to inform the network of barriers and system issues that keep children from finding permanent homes. The Helpline is also the way families access post permanency services. Again post permanency services are monitored through a series of follow-up calls with families. The SWAN website is place for all network members and anyone interested in permanency for children in Pennsylvania to go for information. You will need to navigate the site, briefly you can determine who serves a particular county by clicking on an interactive map. You can become aware of network events and register for them on this website. You also can locate information presented at network meetings. The portal is a secured website and to access it you need permission. This site contains information related to referrals. Agencies can use this information to track the progress of the referral process and to access data on their referral history. More training on the portal is available upon request. The prime contractor organizes meetings within the network to encourage communication and development of relationships amongst the network players. Four times a year the entire network meets in what are called quarterly and statewide meetings . Quarterly meetings occur in the Fall and the spring, State wide meetings occur in the winter and summer. In addition quarterly regional meeting are organized by Technical Assistants. Other smaller meetings are organized depending on the needs of the region involved. The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange: The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange or PAE has been around since the 1980’s. PAE works with county agencies to help recruit and identify adoptive families for registered children. Photos and descriptions of waiting children are listed on their website. How many people have visited the PAE website? PAE is a vital tool that the State supports to match waiting children with families who are willing to provide permanency for them. Every child with a goal of adoption should be registered with PAE. It is mandatory to register a child on PAE if a Report if intent to adopt has not been filed within 90 days following termination of parental rights. Currently there are over 300 children and over 1300 families in the PAE system. The Legal Services Initiative is a program that began with the intention of addressing the legal issues that often delayed a child’s journey toward permanence. LSI involves Prime Contractor staff – acting as paralegals – who work within the county to navigate the legal system so to minimize the length a child is in care without permanence. We have research that shows when a county has an LSI paralegal they see: Reduced # of days from Goal change to TPR Reduced number of days from TPR to adoption Reduced # of days from goal change to TPR Reduced # of days from TPR to adoption

Exercise: Break into groups and review the children you selected at the beginning of the workshop. Use the form handed out earlier to determine what services you will refer for that youth. Or this could be the time to actually make referrals. Remind the audience how much power they have, even though it does not feel like it, to change the life of a child. Their belief in the ability to find a permanent home for a child is critical to the actualization of this concept. Remember the SWAN values. Ask them to think about where they are in the process of permanency for a child. How might they use SWAN services in their job to ensure permanency for a child? Remind them about the child they were to think about and what SWAN services do they think they would refer for that child. Ask them to think about what further training they need?

“ONE PERSON’S GENUINE BELIEF IN THE POSSIBLITY OF A FAMILY FOR A CHILD IS A MESSAGE OF HOPE.” --ROBERT LEWIS A. Again, each person in this room makes choices every work day regarding what a child and family will experience as they move through the child welfare system. SWAN is one way to ensure that if a child asks you if you did everything possible on their behalf you are able to answer in the affirmative.

46 I AM WONDERING? A. Solicit any final questions and review your flip chart to see if all of the audiences questions have been answered.

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