Free Post Adoption Services (PA Families Only) : Frequently Asked Questions

What can Post-Adoption Services do for me?
These services can:

  • Give you the chance to talk with someone who understands adoption a social worker will meet with you monthly to discuss the challenges you are facing and help you connect to other services that may be of help. Of course, the social worker will be available by phone or additional visits if you’d like!
  • Fund respite services that will give both you and your child a break this can be traditional respite where someone cares for your child for a few hours or for an entire weekend. This can also be more creative respite such as summer camps, therapeutic horseback riding lessons, social skills classes anything that will meet your child’s needs and give you a bit of a break!
  • Connect you with support groups in your areas it’s helpful to connect with others that are facing the same challenges! You are not alone!

My child was adopted 15 years ago. Can we receive services? Absolutely! We have worked with families whose adoptions have been finalized for a few months, as well as families whose adoptions were finalized 15-16 years ago! As long as your child is still under the age of 18, you are eligible for Post-Permanency Services.

My child was adopted internationally. Can we receive services? Absolutely! Post-Permanency Services are available to families whose children were born in the U.S. or overseas. Because of our extensive experience in international adoption, our Adoption Coordinators are more familiar than most with the unique needs of children adopted internationally, including children who previously lived in orphanages or foster care.

What can I expect from Madison Adoption Associates? Your Madison Adoption Associate Coordinator is an adoption professional with a Master Degree in Social Work. Our Adoption Coordinators come from a variety of backgrounds but all are experienced with the unique experiences of adoptive families.

During services, your Adoption Coordinator will help you assess what’s happening in your family, provide an empathetic and understanding ear, offer guidance and be an ally as you face your challenges. She will help connect you to services in the community that may be helpful to you and your child(ren). The goal of Post-Permanency Services is to build on your family’s natural strengths so that, after services have been completed, you are better able to navigate the complex bureaucracies of services and obtain the support that you and your family need.

Post-Permanency Services are free. Why? Post-Permanency Services are funded through state and federal money dedicated to supporting adoptive families and helping children remain with their adoptive families. This funding comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN). Services are not based on income or financial status; any adoptive family is eligible to receive these free services.

What is a Case Assessment? Are you evaluating if I can keep my child? During the adoption process, you’ve had many assessments the initial home study, the approval from the adoption authority, the post-placement visits, and other steps that may have been required. The assessment for Post-Permanency Services is a very different process. Your Adoption Coordinator will meet with your entire family to understand who you are as a family, the challenges you face, and, most importantly, your family’s strengths. Based on the discussions with your Adoption Coordinator, a Family Support Plan will be developed to meet your needs.
While your Adoption Coordinator will have to complete some paperwork as required by SWAN, she will not be evaluating if you can keep your child. Your child is already legally yours and that will not change. The Case Assessment is designed to clarify the strengths and challenges of your family so that, in the coming months, we can connect you to services that will further strengthen your family.

What is Case Management/Advocacy? Following your Case Assessment, SWAN can refer up to 5 months of Case Management/ Advocacy services for your family. During this time you will meet with your Adoption Coordinator at least once a month to discuss how things are going and the progress being made toward the goals detailed in your Family Support Plan. Your Adoption Coordinator can also provide recommendations and guidance regarding services in the community that can further support your family. These meetings can be more frequent if needed. Your Adoption Coordinator is also available to accompany you to meetings with schools, coordinate meetings with other service providers, etc.
At the end of the 5 months of Case Management/Advocacy, if you would like or need additional support, SWAN has the option of reauthorizing another 6 months of services.

What is Respite? Parenting a child with special needs can be frustrating and exhausting, regardless of whether your child’s needs are medical, emotional, developmental, or cognitive. Respite services are designed to support families by giving both the parents and the children a break. There are two forms of respite services, traditional respite and creative respite.
– Traditional respite Traditional respite entails working with a trained service provider who can care for your child for a period of time. This can be just for a few hours, for an overnight, or for a weekend. SWAN will fund up to 48 hours of respite each month.
– Creative respite Creative respite means finding something that meets the needs of your child and gives the parents a break as well. In the past we have helped families use funds to pay for summer camps, karate lessons, therapeutic horseback riding, therapeutic camp/daycare, and many other things!

Can I use the Respite funds to pay for specialized therapies, such as attachment therapy? We understand that children of adoption sometimes need specialized therapies that are often not funded by insurance companies, such as attachment therapy. Unfortunately, the Post-Permanency funds cannot be used to pay for these services. However, we will work with you to ascertain whether there are any other funding sources through which you can receive these services.

What are Support Groups? Support groups are a gathering of adoptive families led by a trained social worker. There are generally two kinds of support groups. First, there are groups where families gather together to hear a speaker or to learn about a specific subject that is relevant to adoption. There are often question-and-answer or discussion periods after the presentation to discuss the information shared. Second, there are groups where parents gather together to talk about the challenges they’re facing and to get encouragement and ideas from other parents. With both kinds of groups, parents and children often meet separately so that parents can feel free to ask questions and share experiences without their children present.

Many families have found support groups to be a very positive and affirming experience. Being able to share your challenges with other families that have walked the same road and understand what you’re going through can be a great relief. In addition, getting advice or guidance from other families that have faced the same challenges can help make the challenges feel less daunting.

At the present time, Madison Adoption Associates does not offer its own support groups. However, we can refer you to agencies or organizations available in your area that offer these groups.

Printable information: Frequently Asked Questions about Post Permanency