August 2018
Fresh Starts this Fall: Listening and Learning
It's that time of the year again- getting ready for a new school year. This month, we share a number of fresh learning and feedback opportunities! 
Kinship caregivers and those working to support kinship families are invited to a special
Voices for Virginia's Children listening session, this coming Monday, August 13.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, close family friends and others caring for and raising children and youth are invited to share their first-hand experiences and challenges. Several Virginia state legislators will be listening to the critical feedback offered by loving, courageous kinship caregivers. Meals are provided at the lunch and dinner time sessions, held at Formed Families Forward's offices in Fairfax city. Learn more and REGISTER for MONDAY's KINSHIP LISTENING SESSIONS.
Join Formed Families Forward for a Back to School Webinar on Monday, September 17 

 at 6:30 PM. Settle in and learn some strategies for students, parents and caregivers to survive re-entry! Participants are invited to share their "go to's" as children and youth in foster, adoptive and kinship families return to classrooms.  REGISTER for BACK TO SCHOOL WEBINAR.
Last month, we featured a number of information-sharing tools students and families can use to help connect with new teachers and staff, including our fillable All About Me one pager and other formats. Check out those
back-to-school sharing tools HERE!

Have eagle eyes? The new Formed Families Forward website is looking good!

Did you notice anything different about Formed Families Forward lately? We just launched a
 refreshed website design. The new site features photos of real formed families and is easier to navigate. The site has a new Events listing featuring our own and others' events. We added a great new search function too!

Let us know if anything is missing or you have suggestions or compliments on our new look. Thanks for helping us reach more and do our work better.
Teens and Youth Adults: Programs for YOU!
  • Middle school students- We have you covered with a fall course of LifeSkills Training, Tuesday evenings in Herndon. This free 6 session course helps middle school youth gain healthy, preventive responses and critical social skills. A light dinner is served each week and teen participants can earn gift cards for regular participation. LifeSkills Training starts September 18. REGISTRATION required .
  • Teens and young adults who have lived experiences with mental health challenges are encouraged to attend the free advanced youth leadership trainings offered by YouthMOVE Virginia. The next one is October 6-7 in Roanoke and funds are available for travel. Learn more HERE.

Q & A: Trauma Training Videos for you!

  This month we are co-opting the Q & A column to share information about new trauma training videos, produced by Formed Families Forward, as part of our work with the Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS) project.

A: The impact of trauma is felt in many foster, adoptive, and kinship families. It can be hard to explain the nature and impact of trauma and traumatic stress to other family members, educators and  the other professionals with whom families connect. The three brief videos in the Trauma Sensitive Approaches for Home and School series are great for many audiences including families, educators and other professionals who work with families.  The videos feature the personal experiences of families, educators and clinicians across the state.

Videos in the series include:

  • Understanding Trauma
  • Responding to Trauma
  • Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools

We encourage families to view the videos, review the accompanying fact sheets and share them with teachers, staff and others.

For more resources on trauma, traumatic stress and trauma-sensitve schools, check out our Trauma topical resource webpage HERE.
Have Experience Raising Children with Special Needs?
We need you! Formed Families Forward is guided by a dedicated Board of Directors; many of our members have lived experiences parenting children, youth and young adults with disabilities and other special needs. We are seeking Board member candidates from across the region. Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Prince William and Loudoun parents, caregivers and professionals are particularly encouraged to apply.  Learn more about our Board  and apply!

The Region Returns to School!

August 22- Kinship Family Cafe, sponsored by Fairfax County Kinship Family Institute, dinner served. Fairfax.

September- November- Free special education consultations, hosted by The Arc of Greater Prince William, Manassas

September 6- Va Department of Education workshop on Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) and section 504. Charlottesville.

September 17- Back to School: Surviving Re-Entry 2018 webinar presented by Formed Families Forward.

September 18- October 23-  LifeSkills Training for middle school students, provided by Formed Families Forward, Herndon.

September 24-  Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Loudoun Connect: Ensuring Success for Students with ADHD, hosted by FFF, Leesburg.

September 29- Fairfax County Public Schools Mental Health and Wellness conference,  Fairfax.

October 1 - Behaviors and Beyond: Understanding and Parenting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, hosted by Formed Families Forward, Fairfax.

October 4-6-  National ATTACh conference, in Virginia Beach.

October 13- Loudoun County Public Schools Mental Health Symposium, Ashburn. Save the date!

October 13- Arlington Public Schools Dyslexia Conference, Arlington

October 19- Screening of "Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety" documentary and panel discussion, morning session and evening sessionHosted by ADHD Resource Group of Northern Va, Fairfax.

October 20-  ADHD Awareness Month Resource Fair, hosted by CHADD, McLean.

November 3- Circle of Support conferencehosted by The Arc of Greater Prince William, Woodbridge.

We post free and low cost training, family and other events every day on Facebook. Don't miss a thing - follow Formed Families Forward on 


Formed Families Forward provides training and support to northern Virginia families formed through adoption, foster care and kinship care who are raising children and youth with special education needs. We also serve professionals who work with our families. Consultations and most trainings are free of charge to parents and caregivers raising children and youth with special needs.

Moving Formed Families to Better Outcomes

Reach us at, or call (703) 539-2904.

Kelly Henderson, Ph.D., Executive Director
This project is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Opinions expressed herein are those of the project and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.
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