Matching events showcase waiting children who are waiting for families. The families who attend these events are approved foster or adoptive families who are looking for a child. Families who will be approved in the near future and are still at the beginning of their search for a child are also likely to attend.
These events aid caseworkers and affiliate agencies in matching children who are awaiting permanency with prospective resource families. They give prospective families a chance to get to know the children who are waiting for adoption more intimately than the typical autobiographical packets allow, and, if appropriate, the waiting children get to meet families who are waiting to adopt.
As you are planning matching events, you may want to consider including “Matching Moments,” special sessions that give youth the powerful opportunity to speak for themselves and share their story and personality firsthand with attendees. It’s crucial to properly prepare the youth for these opportunities, and SWAN’s “Tips for Social Workers” are a helpful resource in this process.
If the youth can’t be present, there are many other ways to showcase a waiting child, such as creating PowerPoint presentations, videos, collages, and youth artwork or poetry, to name a few. SWAN has also created “Be Sensitive to Our Waiting Children” to help prepare parents for interacting with the youth.
Many factors should be considered when hosting a matching event. For a detailed outline of these factors, please see Adoption Awareness and Matching Event Planner and Adoption Day Events: A Planners Guide.
An adoption awareness event focuses on the critical need to recruit, identify and train new families who may eventually become resources for waiting children. These events will also highlight the work of your own agency.
The primary goal of awareness events is to reiterate importance of permanency for youth as well as the need for families to provide that permanency. This also can help highlight other services or programs that your own agency provides for families and children.
PAE coordinators have knowledge of the matching committee and expertise in planning statewide matching events. They attend and support a multitude of matching and awareness events throughout the year. Their insight and participation are valuable contributions to the success of a matching event. Your PAE coordinator can:
- Help at all stages, from being a member of the planning committee to presenting at the event, providing general information about adoption and waiting children, and answering questions.
- Help promote awareness of the event by listing it on the PAE website, sending emails and sharing flyers, and through daily contact with counties and agencies.
- Provide a list of families and agencies that can help you with your invitation list.
- Provide information to the SWAN Helpline, which can let callers know about the event or make calls to waiting families about it.
- Assist you in obtaining information from the Waiting Child Registry and getting copies of the Waiting Child CD and posters of Pennsylvania’s waiting children. The Waiting Child CD was developed for child-specific recruiting and provides information about children awaiting permanency.
For more information, or if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact your PAE coordinator.