The SWAN units of service consist of seven direct services that facilitate and support the process of achieving timely permanency for dependent children within Pennsylvania’s child welfare system. In the past, most of SWAN’s services were only available to children with a goal of adoption. However, most units of service are now available to children with primary and concurrent goals other than adoption. County agencies are encouraged to refer all necessary services through the SWAN prime contractor that help a child reach permanency. This complete referral package ensures that resource families and children receive all available supports to create safe, nurturing and permanent families.
While each unit of service is distinct, when used together they offer a continuum of services that can begin when a child is declared dependent and placed in the care of a county agency and continue until permanency is achieved. Even after adoption or permanency is finalized, SWAN’s Post-Permanency services are available.
- Child Profile – Any child in substitute care, regardless of the permanency goal, can benefit from a Child Profile, especially as part of concurrent planning efforts. The Child Profile is useful for assessing and planning, as well as organizing a child’s record so patterns can be identified. The profile also becomes a resource for the child. In addition, prospective families can use this document along with other information to determine whether they would like to pursue becoming a permanent resource for a child. The Child Profile is also helpful when completing other units of service, such as Child Preparation and Child Specific Recruitment.
- Child Preparation – Children in out of home placement have experienced varying degrees of trauma in their young lives. Like the Child Profile, this unit of service can be referred for any child in substitute care regardless of the permanency goal. Referrals for this service can be made as often as needed throughout the child’s placement in care to help them come to terms with the past, form and maintain positive connections and prepare them emotionally for permanency.
- Child Specific Recruitment – Historically, this unit of service was used exclusively to recruit adoptive families for waiting children. However, now it is also used to locate permanent connections for children with permanency goals other than adoption. This means that through CSR, permanent placements can be found for children with primary or concurrent goals of PLC, placement with a fit and willing relative and APPLA. Once a permanent home is located, referrals for other SWAN services, such as the Family Profile, Child Preparation, Placement or Finalization, can be made to support the youth and newly identified family.
- Family Profile – As part of concurrent planning, any prospective permanent families should be referred for a Family Profile as early on in the case as possible. By the time the child welfare professional determines that the concurrent plan needs to be finalized, the Family Profile should be completed or well on its way to being completed. 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, and the document should also provide a sense of who the family is and how they will parent. Identifying these elements, as well as the family’s strengths and areas to work on, will then help the worker to better individualize ongoing services, such as Child Preparation, Placement or Finalization units of service, when the child is placed into the home.
- Placement– The placement of a child with a pre-adoptive family requires extensive preparation of both the child and family to ensure a successful transition. This process is begun for the family during the Family Preparation/Profile service and with the Child Preparation unit of service for the child. The Placement unit continues this preparation and implements an individualized plan for an adoption placement and selection of an adoptive family by the county agency. Through this unit of service, the worker helps a family consider the information disclosed about the child, identifies potential issues for the family and child, discusses past training the family received and how that can apply to the child being placed in the home, and identifies supports that may be needed, such as the Child Preparation and Finalization units of service.
- Finalization – This unit of service begins at placement and includes the supervisory period, supervisory reports, home visits, supportive services and work done with attorneys and courts to facilitate the adoption. During this unit of service it is also critical that the family is prepared to function independently after services end and the adoption is finalized, although they do have the option of seeking additional support through the Post-Permanency unit of service.
- Post-Permanency – The Post-Permanency units of service ensure that families are provided the support they need for the long term to encourage a positive life-long experience.