PAE supports two different kinds of events that are an important part of recruitment and finding permanency for youth: matching events and adoption awareness events. Many factors should be considered when hosting an adoption awareness or matching event. For a detailed outline of these factors, please see Adoption Awareness and Matching Events: Planning for Success.
Adoption awareness events are educational events that provide resources and information about all aspects of adoption. These events are often open to the public, and they highlight the needs of children in foster care while also increasing and strengthening partnerships with the community. They serve to build awareness about an agency’s work and may connect an agency with potential resource families.
Similarly, matching events showcase an agency’s children in need of permanent families. The families who attend are typically foster or adoptive families who have not yet been matched with a waiting child(ren). Families who are still at the beginning of their certification process and may become approved in the near future are also likely attendees.
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.
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 www.adoptpakids.org, sending emails and sharing flyers, and through daily contact with counties and agencies.
- Provide a list 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 posters of Pennsylvania’s waiting children.
For more information, or if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact your PAE coordinator.