The Department of Social Services recognizes individuals and organizations in Pennsylvania who build loving families through adoption
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Today, the Department of Human Services (DHS) recognized families, individuals and organizations in Pennsylvania who help children and youth obtain permanent homes through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN), administered by the Ministry’s Office for Children, Youth and Family.
“There are so many ways to start a loving family, and I am so proud of the role DHS plays in building and strengthening families in Pennsylvania through adoption. Every child deserves a childhood in a loving home and with a supportive family. For over 2,000 children last year, this was made possible through adoption, ”said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “If you have a place in your heart and in your home for a child, please consider adoption. While we are proud of the many successful adoptions that take place in Pennsylvania each year, there are always more children in need of loving homes.
SWAN connects children in need of adoption with potential families and brings together state, county and private agencies to coordinate child tenure services and post tenure services for families. Since SWAN began in 1992, there have been over 51,000 adoptions in Pennsylvania. Currently, Pennsylvania has 14,070 foster children and 3,006 with an adoption goal. In 2020, 2,050 children and young people were successfully adopted.
Earlier this month, DHS hosted the 2021 annual Pennsylvania permanence conference, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 precautions. The annual conference is attended by child protection professionals, current and potential foster or adoptive families, kinship caregivers and others with a vested interest in ensuring that children have safe, permanent and loving homes.
“We honor families and individuals who started small, perhaps welcoming a child, who turned into two, then three and more. We honor families and individuals who understand what it means to act now, ” mentionned Gisele Fetterman, Second Lady of Pennsylvania, who hosted the virtual event. “These are families and individuals who are not satisfied see need, they take personal responsibility and take steps to meet a need.”
The permanent conference is designed to:
- Train participants on how to prepare children and their families for their journey to permanence;
- Educate and support all those involved in the search for permanent homes for children placed in Pennsylvania; and
- Provide children with the opportunity to be matched with potential foster and adoptive families.
The conference traditionally includes an awards ceremony to recognize those who help children and youth achieve a permanent home. This year’s award winners include:
Permanent Family Recognition Award
The selected families provided legalized permanence for one or more children involved in the child protection system:
- Helen Bataille, Lebanon County
- Andy and Hélène Fritz, York County
- David and Heather Langsdorf, Allegheny County
- Bill and Dana Marshall, Cumberland County
- Chris and Maggie Poole, Washington County
- Lisa Turcotte, County Lehigh
Permanence Teamwork Recognition
The teams nominated for this award illustrate a collaborative effort that promotes permanence for children with special needs:
- Christina Cross and Heather Miller, Turns for children
- Barbara Noir, Philadelphia Department of Social Services
The person and the organization selected demonstrate an important charitable commitment which promotes the permanence of the children in foster care:
- Frank and Keri Bacco, Dalton Bacco Fonds Living the Dream
Recognition of duty counsel
This award recognizes a dynamic individual who demonstrates a commitment to establishing cooperative relationships to accelerate the permanence process:
- The Honorable Michael A. George, President Judge in Adams County
Professional recognition in independent living
The nominee for this award has demonstrated that he or she has helped young people become productive members of society:
Permanence Professional Recognition
The people selected to receive this award are permanent professionals working in a public or private child protection organization:
- Rachel Kuhr, Jewish family services from Harrisburg
Recognition of youth advocates
The nominee for this award is a current or former foster youth who has raised awareness on their own behalf and / or that of their peers about the challenges of fostering:
- Cayden roth, County Lehigh
To find out how to start the adoption process and what to expect when you become a foster or adoptive parent, visit www.adoptpakids.org, call 1-800-585-SWAN or follow SWAN on Facebook .
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