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Family Garden

Adoption Services

Adoption

 Adoption programs are designed to improve permanency outcomes for children and youth in foster care. CONCERN is committed to helping children find a permanent family they can call their own. As an affiliate of the PA Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN), the department provides the following services

Child
Profile

A Child Profile is a comprehensive summary of a child’s life and their current needs. The Child Profile creates a history that may be reviewed with their Child Preparation worker, independent living worker, custodial or adoptive family. Specifically, the Profile includes information about the child’s developmental, social, psychological, medical, and educational history. It also includes information on the child’s birth family, current functioning including behavioral patterns and relationships, and their readiness for permanency. A copy of the Child Profile is given to the family prior to finalization of the adoption. Child Profiles can be completed for any child regardless of their permanency goal. The goal of a Child Profile is to help the child understand their history. Child Profiles are developed by reviewing records at the county agency and foster care agency, interviewing various birth relatives and other significant people in the child’s life, and meeting with the child and their caregiver or resource parent.

 Child Preparation
Services

Child Preparation is designed to assist children and youth in making the transition from fostercare to a permanency option. The preparation work with the child explores core issues of out of home placement: grief and loss, abandonment, identity, control, loyalty, attachment, and shame. The goals of Child Preparation are to give children a voice, honor their past, create connections, and answer their questions inhelping them prepare for their future.

Child Specific
Requirement

Child Specific Recruitment (CSR) is a unique method of finding permanent homes for waiting children by creating a plan for the child and working with prospective families to appropriately match the child and family. Children will be asked for their input and involved in creating flyers, videos, and or PowerPoint presentations that highlight their strengths.

Child Specific Recruitment is also a way to find permanent connections and a network of support for an older youth who faces the prospect of “aging out” of the system. Children and youth without a goal of adoption benefit from assistance in locating and reconnecting with extended family and other adults who can support the youth.

The Family Profile 

Family Profiles are used for matching families and children, and as part of the adoption finalization process. The family preparation/study process seeks to get to know the family by understanding how they approach stress and crises and illustrates how the family can care for a child’s unique special needs. During the family preparation process families undergo training to strengthen their knowledge of the child welfare system and childhood trauma. The family profile includes information on the family’s strengths, training, child preferences, home environment, community, financial stability, and medical history​.

Placement Services & Family Matching

Child Placement is to assist with the child’stransition to a family that is intended to be apermanent resource.Once a match is made, meetings are set upbetween the family and the child(ren). APermanency Support Plan is developed by thepermanency specialist, and the family, to assistin identifying the child’s needs and obtainingappropriate community-based services for the child.

Family Matching is a SWAN service that is intended to support a family with an approved Family Profile in the process of waiting to be matched with a child, by engaging the family in the process, and assisting them in identifying children that are in need of an adoptive home.

Finalization

Adoption Finalization services involves the supervision of the placement and preparation of legal work to finalize the adoption. Supervision takes place throughout placement until the adoption is finalized. Supervision reports are provided to the county, which has legal custody of the child. As the time for finalization approaches, CONCERN can assist the family in securing the services of a qualified attorney. Adoption workers submit the required documents to the attorney, who prepares the petition. The attorney files the documents in court and acquires a finalization date. The family is accompanied to court by its assigned Permanency Specialist, who has been working with them throughout the process.

For Those Considering Adoption

Adoption Information Meeting/Orientation

The first step is to attend an adoption information session in your home, in a group setting, or virtually.  The orientation provides prospective families with an overview of the children who need adoptive families, the adoption process, information about foster-to-adopt and how to apply for adoption services.. For information about adoption meeting times and locations, please contact your local CONCERN office. 

Application

 The application gathers information about your families composition and background as well as the characteristics of the child/children you would like to adopt. Families are asked to consider preferences such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, child's abilities, needs, and willingness to adopt sibling groups or teens.  

 

Family Profile/
Approval Document

The Family Profile, also known as the home study, is an extensive document created from a series of meetings between you and an adoption professional known as a  Permanency Specialist.  The Family Profile is a comprehensive depiction of the family and current circumstances, the strengths of family members, and an examination of critical factors, which serves as the basis of evaluation and recommendations for an adoptive placement.

 

Family Preparation Training

Training is required as part of the Family Profile process. CONCERN requires 24 hours of family preparation training, which covers such topics as how the system works, who the children are, child development, parenting, attachment, grief and loss, trauma, who the foster and adoptive parents are, and resources.

 

Training could take place over the course of several Saturdays or during the week, depending on the office location. The trainings are offered in our regional offices located in Bethlehem, Eynon, Fleetwood, Lewisburg, and Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

Placement
& Matching

For families who are looking to be matched with a waiting child, when the Family Profile and Preparation process is completed, the family’s worker will help with the process of identifying and matching children with the family.

Most children waiting in the system are older than five with moderate issues. Younger children do become available, but the waiting time can be lengthy or a child may need to be placed at “legal risk.” Matching is the process of sharing family and child information to ensure the child and family are a good “fit.” After a match is made, the family participates in a series of pre-placement visits with the child before the child is placed in the home.

Post-Placement &
Post-Permanency Services

Once placement has occurred, the child is supervised in the pre-adoptive home for a period of six months prior to the finalization of the adoption. Ongoing support and information is also available, as needed, after the adoption has occurred. Post-Permanency services are available to all families in Pennsylvania who have adopted or provide permanent legal custodianship. Families can contact the SWAN Helpline at 1-800-585-7926 to request Post-Permanency services in their area.

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE FAMILY PROFILE/APPROVAL DOCUMENT?

By SWAN guidelines, it should take approximately 4 months. However, the timing of the Family Profile/Approval Document is driven by the family. Most of the documentation that is required must be submitted by the family before the interview process can begin. The timing of the family’s attendance at the trainings can also impact the completion of the profile.

 

CAN I SEE THE FAMILY PROFILE/APPROVAL DOCUMENT?

Yes. Once it is completed, you will have the opportunity to review your profile for accuracy before CONCERN shares it with other adoption agencies. As the most critical piece of the adoption recommendation process, it’s vital that the information contained in it be accurate and valid. Family Profiles are generally required for all adoptions in Pennsylvania.

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE ADOPTION PROCESS?

Generally about one year. Along with the type of adoption, there are a number of other factors that determine the exact time necessary before an adoption is finalized. In many cases, however, adoptive families are matched with children and adoptive placements are made within a year of completing the Family Profile.

 

ONCE MY CHILD IS FOUND, IS THERE A WAITING PERIOD BEFORE I CAN ADOPT HIM/HER?

Yes, a child must be placed in an adoptive home for about six months prior to the adoption being finalized.

 

IS THERE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BEFORE, DURING, OR AFTER THE ADOPTION PROCESS TO HELP IN ADOPTING AND/OR CARING FOR MY ADOPTIVE CHILD?

There are two forms of assistance available to adoptive parents. There is an adoption subsidy and a tax credit. An adoption subsidy is a legal contract that is negotiated between the county children and youth agency that has custody of the child and the family who wishes to adopt the child. If a child is eligible, the subsidy has three parts to it. There is a cash per diem that is usually paid on a monthly basis, a medical assistance card, and reimbursement for one-time, non-recurring fees for the adoption of the child.

A tax credit is also available to some adoptive parents of special needs children. A family’s modified adjusted gross income must be of a certain level. The amount of the credit will depend on your income. The amount of the tax credit varies each tax year.  Families should see their tax advisers for additional information. Other resources that can provide information are adoption.assistance@nacac.org or visit the website nacac.org

Privacy - HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) provides comprehensive guidance for patients including their privacy rights concerning the use or disclosure of their medical information. These rights are described in detail in the Notice of Privacy Practices.

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