July 2015
A Summer Full
of Family Support

Happy July! Summer is upon us - a great opportunity for families to get a little well-deserved down time. Days away from school and work provide a chance to connect with children in your care without the stress of homework battles and constant schedule demands.

But don't let those brains get too sizzled! Families can access some wonderful trainings and events this summer and early fall, as children and teens get ready to head back-to-school.
Foster Parents & Kinship Caregivers- Get on the Boat! Join a Parents as Collaborative Leaders Training in August

Foster parents and kinship caregivers are invited to a special Parents as Collaborative Leaders intensive three-day training.The August 19-21 training hosted by PEATC (Parent Educational Advocacy and Training Center) will be held at the beautiful Tides Inn in Irvington.

The training content is customized for foster and kinship families who are raising children with special educational needs. Formed Families Forward is pleased to be part of this session! With the support of the Virginia Department of Education, PACL trainings are free of charge to the 12 selected participants. Apply today!
Soft Skills and Getting Ready to Work

Q: What are these "soft skills" I keep hearing about? My son's high school case manager suggested we include goals about soft skills in his IEP.

A: The term "soft skills" refers generally to skills necessary to be successful in any workplace. These include written and verbal communication, problem-solving and higher order thinking skills, appropriate dress and other aspects of professionalism, attitude, networking, teamwork, self-concept and self-control. These are critical skills for all youth to master but may be particularly challenging for youth and young adults with disabilities and other special needs.

The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy offers free access to Soft Skills that Pay the Bills, a curriculum on interpersonal and professional skills for youth ages 14-21.

Another research-based resource, this issue of Workforce Connections from Child Trends summarizes evidence on major workplace readiness skills.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) developed with and for youth age 14 and older must include a transition plan component. As appropriate for the individual student, soft skills may be reflected in the annual goals and transition services specified by the IEP team in the transition plan. More information about transition planning and requirements can be found at the Formed Families Forward High School and Post-Secondary Transition resources webpage, HERE.

Events around the region

LIke Formed Families Forward, many organizations and agencies are busy at work even in the sizzling summer months. Check out these regional opportunities:

July 9- Next meeting of the Fairfax County Kinship Care support group, meeting monthly at Bryant Alternative School, Alexandria.

July 18-
Fairfax County. West African community forum, Alexandria.

July 25- NAMI of Virginia Children and Youth Programs Retreat for those involved in a NAMI program such as NAMI Basics and the Virginia Family Network, in Winchester.

September 18-19- PEATC Parent and Youth Empowerment Summit, Fair Lakes.

November 5- 1st annual Adoption and Foster Care conference, hosted by Connecting Hearts, the Deborah J. Johnson Foundation, in Richmond.

Foster and Adoptive Book Club Thursday!

Take a book break and join other foster, adoptive and kinship families and professionals for a book club
meeting on July 9, 10 am, in Falls Church. Local therapist Patty Pearson and FCFCAA mentorship coordinator Anne Havlovick invite the community to discuss book To the End of June (participants don't have to read the book in advance). More information HERE. We hope to see you there!
We really do like you... please return the favor!

We are Formed Families Forward post a information gem or two a day- great information, but not too much, we promise! Please Like Us on Facebook and get just-in-time updates on regional events and resources.

Suggestions for helping us outreach are always welcome- just call, email or connect through Facebook. We appreciate you helping us reach more foster, adoptive and kinship families!

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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