Conference Highlights Work of Families and Professionals in Facilitating Nearly 35,000 Adoptions During the Past 20 Years

Jul 10, 2013, 11:16 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

LANCASTER, Pa., July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Public Welfare Beverly D. Mackereth attended an annual conference today where she recognized families and professionals that have changed the lives of thousands of children adopted through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN).

The 21st Annual Pennsylvania Permanency Conference is a three-day forum being hosted by SWAN at the Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center today through Friday, July 12.

"This year, we are celebrating 34,600 adoptions since SWAN began in 1992. That is 34,600 changes adoptive families and countless permanency professionals have made in the lives of others," Mackereth said. "But there are still 2,500 children waiting to be adopted and 14,000 youth in the foster system that deserve a permanent home."

The permanency conference serves as a forum to train and support child welfare professionals, as well as current and prospective foster or adoptive families, providers and other interested stakeholders. The event also recognizes the families and professionals who continue to make a difference in helping children and youth achieve permanent connections.

"We have to be fully invested in finding permanency options for the children and youth waiting to be adopted," Mackereth said. "They deserve a place to call home and a family who will love them, and I encourage everyone to look deep into their heart to be the change in a child's life."

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare oversees the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network, the host of the annual Permanency Conference.

Learn more online at, or follow SWAN on Facebook at "Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network". 

Media contact: Carey Miller or Anne C. Bale, 717-425-7606

Editor's Note:  This year's award winners include: 

Permanent Family Recognition Award

Families selected for this award have provided legalized permanency for a child or children in the child welfare system: 

  • Wayne Hopkins and Steve Renninger, Berks County
  • Deborah Holmes, Philadelphia County
  • Marc and Susan Telesha, Lehigh County
  • Marilyn Thomas, Washington County
  • Cathy Riggie, Jefferson County

Permanency Teamwork Recognition

Teams selected to receive this award exemplify a collaborative effort that promotes the permanency of children with special needs:

  • Currie and Patricia Markham, Adoptive Family, Bucks County
  • Stephany Gallagher, CONCERN, Berks County
  • Jennifer DeLong and Mary Ann Irwin, Northampton County Children and Youth Services
  • Stephen Polonsky, Montgomery County Children and Youth Services

County Collaborative Recognition

This award recognizes a collaborative effort between a county court and a county children and youth agency that expedite permanency:

  • Crawford County Children and Youth Services and Crawford County Court of Common Pleas

Permanency Advocate Recognition

This award recognizes a dynamic individual that demonstrates a commitment to building cooperative relationships that expedite the permanency process:

  • Judge Jolene Grubb Kopriva, Court of Common Pleas of Blair County

Independent Living Professional Recognition

The individual selected for this award has demonstrated that they have helped youth transition into a successful contributing member of society:

  • Pamela Meterko, Pentz Run Youth Services, Clearfield County

Permanency Professional Recognition

Individuals selected to receive this award are permanency professionals working in a public or private child welfare agency:

  • Matthew Steiner, Wesley Spectrum Services, Allegheny County

Philanthropy Recognition

The organization selected to receive this award demonstrates a charitable contribution that promotes the permanency of children in foster care:

  • Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Gettysburg College, Adams County
  • Ara Barlieb, Barlieb Wallace Productions, Lehigh County

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare