Helping Hands: Children’s Aid Society programs assist with adoptions, couples’ well-being

July 2, 2014 

Children’s Aid Society serves children and adults through many programs provided throughout central Pennsylvania. In 2013, the agency served 2,194 people through a variety of major service areas: adoption services, which include private adoptions and the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) , international home studies and foster care; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clearfield County; child care and early learning services, which include our child care center, afterschool care and a Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts classroom; and family support services, which include the Healthy Relationship and Nurturing Parenting projects, the Relatives As Parents Program and in-home services designed to improve family functioning.

Centre County residents have access to the society’s adoption services. Featured services are provided at no cost to the families through the SWAN program:

• birth parent counseling;

• SWAN orientation;

• home study/family profile preparation;

• child specific recruitment;

• post-adoption supervision;

• court appearances;

• international placement help;

• adoption classes;

• child profiles and preparation;

• matching services;

• post-placement supervision;

• finalization;

• post-permanency services;

• birth family searches; and

• voluntary post-adoption contact agreements.

Our adoption program is Hague-accredited, which allows the agency to assist prospective families to adopt from countries approved by the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. Accreditation also allows us to directly facilitate international adoptions in Hague Convention countries.

We also are developing our foster care services, which include traditional foster care and services designed to help families who are waiting to adopt, become foster parents and eventually adoptive parents for a child.

Last year, we served 279 children and adults through our SWAN, private and international adoption services and had a record year for activity including 144 SWAN referrals.

In 2011, the Children’s Aid Society received a federal grant to provide the Healthy Relationship Project, which offers classes and workshops to improve relationships for residents of central Pennsylvania. The program holds free workshops in Clearfield County and the eight surrounding counties throughout the year. It is not marriage or relationship therapy, but rather a workshop that provides tools to make relationships the best that they can be. Some of the topics include how to keep the fun and friendship in your relationship, communication danger signs and positive communication strategies, problem-solving, and personalities and expectations and how they affect your relationship and commitment. The workshops are a blend of lecture and activities. Participants are not asked to share anything with the group unless they choose to.

For married couples, the society provide couples’ retreats, held Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. For non-married couples, we hold relationship workshops on Saturday afternoons.

For more information about any of our programs please visit our website at www.childaid.org or call 765-2686.

Bonnie Floro is the executive director of the Children’s Aid Society.

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