February 2015           
Trauma-Informed Care in Schools... It can be done!

On February 10, Formed Families Forward welcomed 60 parents and caregivers, educators, social workers, counselors, probation professionals, and other caring adults for our "Learning, Healing and Helping: The Role of Educators and other Caring Adults in Trauma and Attachment" workshop.  National child trauma expert Dr. Allison Sampson-Jackson kept the group learning and laughing as she shared the latest trauma and brain development research. Great, practical strategies for school, clinical and home settings were shared and practiced.  

In the afternoon, therapist Karen Chaudhry shared information about recent changes to attachment-based disorders diagnoses in DSM-V. Participants used real-life cases to examine attachment styles and suggest interventions for children and youth.
Learn more about trauma and attachment on our trauma resource webpage.  

Huge thanks to our co-sponsors, the ADHD Resource Group of NoVA and the Center for Attachment and Trauma Services, Inc. who helped us make the registration rates more affordable for families and professionals! 
Thursdays, February 19 and March 5, 6:30 pm  Stronger Together youth and young adult support group and parent/caregiver group. New members welcome (free) 

Tuesday, March 10, 6:30pm- " Dude, Where's My Transition Plan?" workshop 
for youth and parents/caregivers, at Formed Families Forward, Fairfax (free)

Wednesdays, March 18 and April 8, 10:00 am- The Caregiver's Toolbox: Practical Tips for Dealing with Caregiver Stress, Avoiding Burnout and Finding the Best Resources for Caregivers of Children 
support and discussion groups for grandparents, relatives and other caregivers, Fairfax (free)

Saturday, April 11, 9:30 am- 3 pm
 - our 2nd annual Spring Forward family fun day for foster, adoptive and kinship families. At James Lee Community Center in Falls Church. Come hear Keynote address " Strong Families: Resilient Children: Better Outcomes" by Dr. Terry Morris, NASA engineer, child advocate and former foster youth. Also offered: I'm Determined self-advocacy workshop for youth, breakout sessions for caregivers, games and activities for children, food and a fun fair!  Registration opens February 20 (minimal fee).

June 25 - 28, National Foster Parent Association conference in Norfolk. FACES of Virginia Families is helping to bring NFPA to Virginia. Great sessions and activities for the whole family (registration fee).
Young Children with Delays Due to Prenatal Exposure 

Q: I am raising my granddaughter who just turned 2. Her mother used drugs while pregnant and I think that my granddaughter's delays are because she was exposed to alcohol and drugs before birth. Can I get services for my granddaughter?

A: In short, yes! The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides for early intervention services for infants and toddlers through age 2 and their families. To be eligible for early intervention supports and services,  a child must have certain levels of developmental delay, differences in development and/or a diagnosed condition, like cerebral palsy or vision or hearing loss.

Once determined to be eligible, services for a specific child and his or her family are specified by a team of professionals and family members. An Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) guides the services and supports. Services are to be delivered in a natural environment, such as the home, day care, or preschool. Unlike special education in schools, there may be a fee for some services, though private or public insurance can be used. More information about early intervention for babies and toddlers can be found HERE.
To start a referral for early intervention services in Virginia, families need to contact their local agency through the Infant and Toddler Connection- find your locality HERE

Prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol can have significant impact on a young child's development, often resulting in substantial delays and later disabiing conditions. Find a list of resources specific to prenatal HERE.
Find links to other organizations and agencies who can support families raising children who had prenatal exposure in our Formed Families Resource Directory.

Behavioral Health Needs of Adopted Children

On February 12, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) broadcast a webisode presentation "Addressing the Behavioral Health Needs of Adopted Children".  The broadcast is now available for viewing on demand.  Presenters highlight data about the prevalence of mental health and other behavioral challenges among children in adopted families. Effective interventions for meeting emotional and behavioral needs are shared. 


The presentation also features the newly-released SAMHSA report  "Domestic and International Adoption: Strategies to Improve Behavioral Health Outcomes for Youth and their Families." 

Two great resources to help families understand and address behavior and emotional challenges!          
Mark your Calendars! Don't miss these great regional events...

Check out these great training and support opportunities from schools and other organizations in our region:

Our friends at George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development have just launched EduTools4U. The portal provides access to online professional development learning modules on many topics of interest to families and to teaching, medical, and public safety professionals, adult care service providers, and infant and toddler caretakers. 

One of the first modules "Making Special Education Work for Adoptive, Foster and Kinship Families" was developed in conjunction with Formed Families Forward. We are pleased to support a great new avenue for caregivers and professionals to learn more about the needs of formed families. Give EduTools4U a try!


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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   

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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