July 2016
H-app-y Summer:
Technology Apps for
Formed Families

Summer is a great time to try new things! This summer, Formed Families Forward is getting tech-savvy and we invite you to join us.

Our App of the Week features a technology tool that may be just the thing for you, your child, or the families you work with.

Like us on Facebook and every week, a new App of the Week highlight will come to you! All featured apps can be found on the App of the Week webpage as well.

Need a social story? Not sure what assistive technology is right for your child? Helping a new reader? Need resources for foster families, or just want to kill some time at the grocery store checkout? We have you covered with the Apps of the Week already featured this summer. Check them out here, and be sure to Like us on Facebook so you can get the newest Apps!

"Roll It" with Formed Families-
Summer Movie Night!

We are rolling some movie and audio clips for
foster, adoptive and kinship parents and caregivers on July 12 from 6:30 - 9 PM. Take a mid-summer break and join us for a relaxed evening discussion. Snacks served! We will only hold the event if we get enough interest 10 by July- so please RSVP.

Q & A:
Who Cares about the Every Student Succeeds Act?

Q: What is the big deal about this new federal law ESSA? I hear there is not much regarding children in special education, so why should I pay attention?

A: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the largest federal education law that has been around since 1965. ESSA reauthorizes Title I to support low income schools and provides for other important civil rights and programs in public education.

ESSA was signed into law in December 2015, and rules for implementing the new law are in process at the US Department of Education. Each state will submit plans for accountability and other provisions, and stakeholder input and participation is required.

For formed families raising children and youth with disabilities, there are several aspects of the law that are designed to increase coordination of services and improve outcomes.
  • ESSA authorizes only one alternate assessment to be used to assess a small group of students with the "most signficant cognitive disabilities" based on a State's alternate standards.
  • State Title I Plans must describe the steps the State Education Agency (SEA) will take the ensure collaboration with the State department of social services to ensure the educational stability of children or youth in foster care. This reinforces provisions that have been in place since Fostering Connections Act, assuring that education agencies have reciprocal obligations, like social services agencies.
  • Educational stability requirements mean that youth in foster care are enrolled or remain in their school of origin unless a determination is made that it is not in their best interest; and that...
  • Youth in foster care who need transportation to the school of origin promptly receive it in a cost effective manner and in accordance with the child welfare agency’s authority to use child welfare IV-E funding.

On June 23, the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released joint guidance clarifying how states and local agencies can implement foster youth educational stability provisions in ESSA. In addition, the Department of Education published a
Foster Care Transition Toolkit for foster youth, their fostering families, and agency workers. The Toolkit guides foster youth and young adults through goal-setting and planning for post-high school career and education, housing, health care, and much more.

Additional great resources and videos about the impact of ESSA on students with disabilities and students in foster care are available from our friends at The Advocacy Institute.
More Summer Lovin'

Love yourself some great trainings and events from FFF
and others...

July 12- Summer Movie Night for foster, adoptive and kinship parents and caregivers, at FFF, Fairfax.

July 18- Foster/Adoptive Book Club at UMFS, Alexandria

July 20- Fostering Futures Forum at NVCC, sponsored by Great Expectations and CASA of Fairfax, Annandale

July 21-22- National Professional Learning Institute on Inclusion, sponsored by the SWIFT Center, Arlington

July 29-31- Camp FACES Family Camp at Highroads, Middleburg

August 3-6- North American Council on Adoptable Children national conference, Nashville

August 16- Special Education Advisory Committee training, from PEATC, Woodbridge

August 17- Section 504 training from VDOE and PEATC, Staunton

August 24- Back to School Basics webinar from FFF. 6:30 - 8 PM, free.

November 5- Circle of Support conference sponsored by The Arc of Greater Prince William, Woodbridge

Anytime- Alexandria City Public Schools Family Resource Center has the 2015-16 Family Engagement Series on YouTube for replay anytime! Available in multiple languages.


Sigh! It's Just Around the Corner -
Get Ready for Back to School!

Step into the new school year on the right foot. Whether you are back at it or fitting in a last trip to the beach, join us August 25 for a webinar full of tips and tricks for getting back into the school routine and setting your child up for success this coming school year. FREE and brief (no more than 90 minutes) - what could be better? REGISTER!

And don't forget our Formed Families favorite " All About Me" template for introducing the child in your care to his or her new teachers. Find the Template HERE and the Format Guide HERE.

Mark your Calendars for these Summer Events for Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Families

Fostering Futures Forum - hear the latest about Fostering Futures implementation

from Voices for Virginia's Children on July 20 at NVCC in Annandale. REGISTER.

Monthly Foster/Adoptive Book Club meets July 18 at UMFS (note new room!).

Featured book this month is The Connected Child by K. Purvis, D. Cross and W. Sunshine.

Reading the book is not a requirement to attend!

Anne Havlovick,
Don't Miss a Thing this Summer
Keep up to date with the latest news and resources just for formed families and professionals who care about adoption, foster care and kinship care. And this summer, don't miss our App of the Week series on Facebook. LIKE us!

Our Stronger Together peer support groups for youth and young adults age 14- 22 and for parents and caregivers concluded for the 2015-16 school year but we hope to start back up in fall. If you might be interested, let us know HERE.

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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