December 2014            
                                           Momentum E-news has a new look- same fabulous content!
The Ups & Downs of Holiday Time for Formed Families 
The end of the year brings mixed emotions for many families formed through foster care, kinship care and adoption. For the children in our care, the holidays may hold memories of previous homes, family, friends and caretakers. Good or bad, these memories and their related associations may trigger strong emotions. Abrupt and sometimes perplexing behavioral changes are not uncommon in our formed families! Here are some great (and quick) reads on riding the holiday roller coaster.
 
December and January are about mid-point in the school year. For some students who have challenges that impact learning, this is the time when the academic cookie starts to crumble. But fear not - we have a great panel of experience adoptive, foster and kinship parents who will share their experiences, tips and solutions for addressing education issues. Join us Monday, January 12 at 6:30 pm for a free webinar, Managing the Mid-Year Muddle. There will time for questions and answers from our expert parents and caregivers.
Thursday, December 18, 6:30 pm- the next meeting of Stronger Together youth and young adult support group   and parent/caregiver group. New members welcome (free) 
Monday, January 12, 2015, 6:30 pm Managing the Mid-Year Muddle  webinar- a panel of experienced formed families share their suggestions for school success (free)

Tuesday, February 12, 2015, 8:30 am -  Learning, Healing and Helping: The Role of Educators & Other Caring Adults in Attachment and Trauma   professional workshop for educators, counselors and socal workers. Learn trauma-informed strategies that ease conflict and promote academic and behavioral success  (registration fee).
Safe toys for children with special needs 

Our Question and Answer is well-timed to help parents and caregivers in this month of holiday gifting!

Q: I am raising a child with moderate disabilities. What toys are fun but still appropriate and safe?

A: A good rule of thumb is to choose toys that are at or are slightly above where your child is functioning. Consider the child's interests, as well as the physical aspects of the toy:  Will your child be able to operate the switches and components of the toy?  Is it sturdy enough? Can a basic toy be made more appealing and age appropriate by adding stickers or decals?

Here are some great resources for choosing the right toys for children with special needs:

  • This video from the Illinois early intervention clearinghouse covers all the developmental stages and offers practical suggestions
  • This Tips on Toys fact sheet  from the Va. Cooperative Extension Services suggests toys by age group.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the suggestions for buying safe toys and other children's products.
SAVE the DATE! Our annual Spring Forward family fun day for foster, kinship, and adoptive families will be Saturday, April 11, 2015 at James Lee Community Center in Falls Church. Mark your calendars; more information in January!
Please include Formed Families Forward in your year-end giving. All contributions are tax-deductible and every dollar goes directly to our training, consultation and other supports for formed families.
Youth & Young Adult Peer Groups off to a great start!
Our Stronger Together youth and young adults group has met three times and are flexing those growing muscles! Youth and young adults from age 14-22 meet over dinner to share their own stories and strategies and offer support to each other.  Parents and caregivers also meet separately at the same time.

The group is open, so new members are welcome to check out the group at the next meeting, Thursday, December 19 at 6:30 pm. Learn more HERE.

Thanks to the Center for Family Involvement at VCU and the Virginia Family Network at NAMI of Virginia for their support of Stronger Together.
Our Stronger Together youth and young adults group has met three times and are flexing those growing muscles! Youth and young adults from age 14-22 meet over dinner to share their own stories and strategies and offer support to each other.  Parents and caregivers also meet separately at the same time.

The group is open, so new members are welcome to check out the group at the next meeting, Thursday, December 19 at 6:30 pm. Learn more HERE.

Thanks to the Center for Family Involvement at VCU and the Virginia Family Network at NAMI of Virginia for their support of Stronger Together.
Local Foster-to-Adopt Family featured!

The PicMe Project, a collaboration of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Child Welfare Program and Joan Brady Photography, recently featured the inspiring story of the Havlovicks, a Fairfax family formed through foster care and adoption. 

Anne, Rob and William serve as a great reminder of the importance of finding permanent homes for older youth in foster care who are in are in need of lifelong connections before they age-out.

Did you see our Good Reads series on Facebook? Be sure to Like us on FB and follow us on Twitter and get the latest resources and updates specific to northern Virginia formed families.


Best wishes to you and yours for a joyous, peaceful and safe holiday season.

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 www.formedfamiliesforward.org, info@formedfamiliesforward.org  or call (703) 539-2904.

Kelly Henderson, Ph.D., Executive Director   

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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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