March 2017
Spring Forward Family Fun Day Registration is Open!

Saturday, April 29
9:30 AM- 3:30 PM

Providence Community Center, Fairfax
Spring is around the corner, and so is our 4th annual Spring Forward Family Fun Day for foster, adoptive and kinship families.

Parents, caregivers and children of all ages are invited to a relaxing day of learning, fun, food and fellowship with others who walk the walk!

Children spend the morning in supervised activities while adults have time to learn from keynote Dr. Bruce Thyer sharing "What Really Works and What Doesn't for Tough Kids". Breakout sessions follow including one focused on resolving conflict within families (great for kinship caregivers) and one for youth!

After lunch, families enjoy a fun fair with games & prizes, face painting, crafts, inflatable obstacle course, a balloon artist, and much more.

The whole day, light breakfast and lunch included for $5 per participant age 3 and up. Nursery care for babies and toddlers also available.

Transitioning through high school? Looking for employment and training supports after high school? Be sure to sign up for our final March Madness webinar, Wednesday, March 15 - Getting to Work: The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Students with Disabilities webinar with Jean Steveson, Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services.

Did you miss our other March Madness webinars? Find recordings and presentation slides from:

  • Securing a Future for Formed Families webinar about long range planning, special needs trusts, guardianships, supported decision-making with Tia Marsili of The Arc of Northern Virginia; and
  • Plotting the Path: A Graduation Requirement Update webinar with Marianne Moore from the Virginia Department of Education in our Archived Webinars, HERE.

Professionals, Don't Miss
this Workshop

What Really Works

and What Doesn't
For Challenging Kids

Friday, April 28 * 8 am - 12:30 pm
4031 University Dr., Fairfax

Formed Families Forward and the ADHD Resource Group of Northern Virginia are pleased to host Dr. Bruce Thyer, Professor of Social Work at Florida State University and author of Science and Pseudoscience in Social Work Practice, for a half-day workshop. Dr. Thyer will provide insight into some of the most common and most controversial interventions for working with children, youth and families.

Dr. Thyer will cover science and pseudoscience in:

  • Clinical assessment
  • Treating children and adolescents, including those with emotional and behavioral needs, such as conduct disorders, ADHD, anxiety disorders and autism
  • Treating those who have experienced trauma
  • Addressing the unique needs of persons with developmental disabilities
  • Evaluating and selecting sounds practices and discouraging pseudoscience

This interactive workshop is designed for social work, counseling, education, psychology and other professionals. Registration is $50 and includes breakfast.
Get Workshop FLYER HERE.

Q & A:

Special Needs Adoption

Q: I keep hearing about "special needs" adoptions. What does that really mean? How many adoptions are special needs?

A: Good questions with no simple answers! Special needs is a term that can have a broad meaning. In social services, "special needs" may be a way to classify children who have a harder time finding families willing to adopt them. This often refers to older children, children in sibling groups, and those with exceptional conditions, such as disabilities that impact learning and medical disorders.

In schools and education settings, "special needs" may refer to only those children and youth who have a disability that impacts a major life activity and/or educational performance. These children and youth may require accommodations and specialized instruction to address their disabling condition. A child who has a special needs adoption status is not necessarily or automatically eligible to receive accommodations or special education in a school setting. Formed Families Forward can help your family understand the process for accessing services and supports for disabilities in schools.

The National Council for Adoption just released its biennial fact book,
Adoption: By the Numbers. The report notes, "In 2014, 88.5 percent of unrelated domestic adoptions were special needs more than double the percentage in 2007 (42.4 percent)." The report attributes this increase to better public funding to assist children with disabilities and other special needs, as well as broader recognition of the many traumas that every child in foster care has undergone.

The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) offers a step-by-step guide to adoption, including special needs considerations.

Some supports may be available to families who adopt children identified with special needs status. Maximum tax credits may be available to families adopting a child with special needs who the "state determines that the child probably won't be adoptable without assistance provided to the adoptive family". Learn more about adoption credit and adoption assistance programs HERE.

Federal Title IV-E or state adoption assistance may provide cash supports, medical assistance and other benefits to children with special needs. Families access benefits through departments of social services. More information about adoption assistance is available from
NACAC and at our FFF subsidy information webpage.
March into the perfect training!

March 8- Why Do They Do That? A Behind-the-Scenes Look at ADHD,
hosted by the Alexandria City Public Schools Parent Resource Center, Alexandria.

March 9 - Arlington Co. Special Education PTA (SEPTA) meeting,

March 15-
Getting to Work: The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Students with Disabilities webinar, hosted by FFF. FLYER here.

March 16- Using Music to Create Greater Potential in Children,
hosted by Arc of Greater Prince William, Woodbridge.

March 16- Cyberbullying and Internet Safety, hosted by Loudoun County Public Schools Parent Resource Services, Ashburn.

March 18
- Prince William County Schools annual Transition Fair, Manassas.

March 18- NAMI of Virginia Parent Leadership Retreat, Richmond.

March 21- Dinner Focus Group with Fairfax County system of care, Fairfax.

March 24-25- Accessibility Summit 2017 at McLean Bible Church, Vienna.

March 27- Anxiety and School Refusal, hosted by Loudoun County Public Schools Parent Resource Services, Ashburn.

April 1- Fairfax County Public Schools Special Education Conference, Alexandria. Visit FFF in exhibits and at our 1:45 - 3 PM session!

April 28- Professional Workshop- What Really Works (and What Doesn't) for Challenging Kids with Dr. Bruce Thyer, Fairfax.

April 29- Spring Forward Family Fun Day, Fairfax.

May 6- Family and Youth Leadership Summit hosted by Virginia Family Network at NAMI of Virginia, Richmond.

May 10 - June 14- LifeSkills Training for Middle School Students. Wednesdays in Fairfax.

May 10 - National GrandRally: Building a Community of Hope to raise awareness of grandparents and other relative caregivers, Washington, DC

June 9- Save the Date: Family Movie Night at FFF. Screening of Resilience for adults; kids get their own movie! Registration opens soon.

June 22-23- PEATC Parent Institute for parents and caregivers new to special education, Charlottesville.

June 29- July 2- Save the Date: NewFound Families Campference for families and professionals, Glen Allen.

Programs just for Teens and Young Adults
Dinner Focus Group with Fairfax County

Have experience with services for children and youth with behavioral or emotional challenges or intellectual disabilities? Fairfax County's system of care is planning a database of behavioral health providers and want to hear from you! Join a focus group on March 21. More HERE.

March: In LIKE a Lion...!

This month, Like Formed Families Forward on Facebook and get the latest news, event notices and information just for foster, adoptive and kinship families!

Formed Families Forward is also looking for some "lions" of strong leadership, and we welcome applications from parents, caregivers, professionals and interested community members to serve on our Board of Directors. Learn more and apply 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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