Adoption in Pennsylvania

Every child deserves a loving, nurturing permanent home, where they feel cared for, safe and supported. Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services works to provide this permanency through partnerships with the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) and the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange.

The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange (PAE)

The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange at www.adoptpakids.org maintains an ever-changing database of children who need families as well as families who have been approved to adopt. Matches between children and families are carefully made. PAE publishes a photo-listing book of waiting children. Interested families and social workers receive contact information for the agency that has custody of a child.

Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN)

SWAN is a partnership among public and private agencies, judges and the legal community, foster and adoptive parents to build a better collaborative adoption process in Pennsylvania. SWAN serves children in the custody of county Children and Youth agencies who have a goal of adoption. These are children with special needs and finding an adoptive family may be a bigger challenge due to one or more of the following factors:

  • The child is five years old or older;
  • The child is a member of a sibling group in the same adoptive home;
  • The child is a member of a minority group;
  • The child has an emotional, physical, or mental condition or disability; and
  • The child has a genetic condition that may lead to a disease or handicap.

Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN)
PO Box 2675
Harrisburg, Pa. 17105-2675
800-585-SWAN (Toll-Free)

For more information about adoption follow these links: 

Division of Operations, Interstate Compact Office, DGS Annex, 5 Magnolia Drive, Hillcrest, 2nd Floor, Harrisburg, PA. 17110-2544

INTERSTATE COMPACT OFFICE

Main Number: 717-772-5505

The Interstate Compact Office is responsible for three interstate compacts.  Interstate compacts are legal agreements signed and passed into law by each member state.  Compacts require all states to uniformly comply with the articles, rules and regulations that are contained within the compact or later passed by the member states through a voting process.

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children - (ICPC)

This compact provides legal guidelines and requirements for managing interstate placements of children into and out of the state for the purpose of adoption, foster care, and residential placement care.  It provides a coordinated method for studying the prospective placement and providing supervision in the receiving state while legal authority over the child remains in the sending state until certain specified conditions are met. Currently all fifty (50) states, Washington DC, and the US Virgin Islands have enacted the ICPC.

The Interstate Office is also responsible for foreign adoptions when the adoption is not finalized in the foreign country or when both parents do not travel to the foreign country to finalize the adoption (proxy adoption). This is not a statutory piece of the ICPC, but these are handled by this Office due to the similarities between foreign and domestic adoptions.

The Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC) is the national body (made of one voting member from each state) that monitors and maintains the compact. Information regarding the AAICPC and on the ICPC itself can be found at: http://www.aphsa.org/content/AAICPC/en/home.html

Contact information for each state’s Interstate Office can be found at: http://icpcstatepages.org/

The Interstate Compact for Juveniles - (ICJ)

This compact provides legal guidelines and requirements for managing delinquent juveniles when moving into or out of the state to live with parents or relatives.  This compact provides a coordinated method to study the prospective home and the transfer the supervisory responsibilities to the receiving state while keeping the legal authority with the original court in the sending state until certain conditions are met.  Currently all fifty (50) states, Washington DC, and the US Virgin Islands have enacted the ICJ.

The ICJ is also responsible for assisting in the return of runaways when the child is a Pennsylvania child or if a runaway from another state is picked up or captured in Pennsylvania.

The Interstate Commission for Juveniles (also ICJ) is the national body (made of one voting member from each member state) that monitors and maintains the compact. Information regarding the Commission and ICJ itself can be found at: http://www.juvenilecompact.org/

Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance - (ICAMA)

This compact provides legal guidelines and requirements for ensuring that adopted special needs children are provided medical cards when they move into or out of Pennsylvania.   The Interstate office works closely with the PA Office of Income Maintenance, the adoptive parents, the local county assistance office and interstate offices from around the country to ensure that the children get their medical assistance in a timely manner.  Currently forty-eight (48) states (New York is only an associate member, and Wyoming has not enacted the compact) and Washington DC have enacted the compact.

The Interstate office also ensures that children who are placed into foster care or residential care and are IV-E eligible receive medical cards either in this state or the state in which they are placed.

The Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (AAICAMA) is the national body (made of one voting member from each member state) that monitors and maintains the compact. Information regarding the AAICAMA and ICAMA itself can be found at: http://aaicama.org/cms/