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06. SWAN Units of Service

The Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) Units of Service Continuum displays the array of services that comprise the full job of preparing children and families for permanency. The continuum consists of ten SWAN units of service, shown in gold, along a forward trajectory, since permanency work is ever ongoing. The final four SWAN units of service are grouped together as Post-Permanency Services.

This continuum displays the concept of service delivery for the SWAN units of service. It is built on the firm belief that permanency is achieved more successfully when children and families get the full array of services designed to prepare them for a lifetime permanency journey. Each unit affects the others. When workers focus on the whole continuum rather than one aspect of the continuum, it is beneficial to the larger system of permanency work. For example, it is useful to have a completed Child Profile to use during Child Specific Recruitment (CSR), but the opportunity to have CSR at all, regardless of timing is so important. In other words, these units are stronger together than separate. Any break in the continuum becomes the weak leak, and the benefits of those unused services are lost to the families and children. Echoes of those lost benefits are often heard in post-permanency work. When Child Profiles are delayed or outdated, families may not get all the information they need. If Child Preparation was not referred, children may not be as well-prepared for permanency as they could be. If families do not receive Placement and Finalization services, then education, supports and exposure to new information is limited, and that makes the family vulnerable when issues arise after the finalization. In addition, Finalization services give the family an understanding of the importance of post-permanency support and normalizes the need for those services.

The Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) continuum of services has many benefits. The units of service work together, creating a solid foundation that supports the structure of the permanency family. A solid foundation may shake and rattle, but is less likely to fall. Each SWAN unit of service builds upon and impacts another. Having one benefits the provision of another. For example, the Child Profile unit of service provides a child’s history to guide the work of Child Preparation. The full range of support provided through all the units of service increases success for families, who are prepared for what is to come and know what supports are available.

Permanency placements and activities do not always occur in the same order. The SWAN continuum of services allows for flexibility in the SWAN units of service, which are available and adaptable to any permanency case. The units of service can be referred singly or in combination, with the ability to refer certain units of service more than once. Even if not referred in a certain order, access to all of them matters when sustaining a permanency family.

The SWAN continuum of services provides unvarying standards of practice throughout all stages of the permanency journey. Using multiple SWAN services provides a reliable message that inspires hope in families about their ability to endure challenges and overcome barriers to remain a cohesive unit. Families know what to expect when consistent permanency language and standards of practice are intertwined throughout the services they receive.

The SWAN continuum of services adjusts perspectives to look at the permanency journey as ongoing. Families integrate and transfer learning at each step along the way. They put their permanency preparation into action to manage challenges with the support of experienced guides, their SWAN permanency workers. Families get connected to community agencies, so they are prepared to manage ongoing issues that occur long after legal permanency is achieved.

The SWAN continuum provides comprehensive, cradle-to-grave services with consistent standards of permanency work that break down silos in practice. The complete continuum referral package ensures that resource families and children receive all available supports to create safe, nurturing and permanent families.

The SWAN units of service are Child Preparation, Child Profile, Child Specific Recruitment, Family Profile, Family Matching, Placement, Finalization and Post-permanency.  These services provide children, youth and families with the preparation and support needed to sustain permanency.  The services are provided by affiliate agencies that subcontract with Diakon to complete SWAN permanency work.

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