December 2017
You're invited to our Open House Friday, December 1 from 2 - 4 PM

We are jumping into December a bit early to encourage you to RSVP for Friday's Mindfulness and Mingling holiday open house. Meet Formed Families Forward staff and Board members, learn more about our services for families and professionals, and network and share information about your agency or organization. As a treat to yourself, be sure to be in the House at 2:30 PM for Dr. Archana Dogra's mindfulness exercise, to help prepare for seasonal stressors!

Parents, caregivers and professionals are all welcome. Just let us know you plan to stop by. RSVP HERE.
Youth and Families Get Future-Focused this Saturday!

All families and youth are encouraged to attend the free Future Quest College and Career event this Saturday, December 2 from 8 AM to 3 PM. The event features top-notch presentations and a huge resource fair. Register now for this great event, held every other year.

Location: George Mason University, Fairfax Campus, in the Johnson Center

Be sure to stop by the Formed Families Forward exhibit table and say hello!

A Note of THANKS

Many thanks to all those who have supported foster, adoptive and kinship families by bidding on fabulous items in our first online auction and by shopping Mission Mondays through fall at the Fair Oaks Altar'd State store.

Collectively, nearly $5000 was raised to fund our Stronger Together peer support groups for youth and young adults, and for parents and caregivers, as well as other services and supports for foster, adoptive and kinship families.

And as the holidays approach, don't forget to shop Amazon through our Amazon Smile link. Amazon donates directly to Formed Families Forward with every purchase made through the link.

Young Adults with Mental Health Challenges: Share your Voice TODAY!

Youth MOVE (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience) Virginia is a platform for young people to share their story and inspire others. As a contractual agreement between the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Virginia, they want to hear from young adults age 18-30 about their experiences. YouthMOVE wants to know what is and isn’t working for you. Your responses will help them identify where and how advocacy efforts can best be used in the upcoming legislative session and beyond. Survey deadline is November 30, so COMPLETE the SURVEY today!

Q & A: Selecting the Right Toys for Children with Special Needs

This month, we are updating a Q & A from a past December when a parent asked about how to pick toys for adopted twins with special needs.

Choosing toys appropriate for a child's developmental level can be tricky. A good rule of thumb is to choose toys that are at, or 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 decals or texture?

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

Unwrap some Great Learning!

December 1- Formed Families Forward's Mindfulness and Mingling open house,
Fairfax. Parents, caregivers and professionals welcome!

December 1- Depression in Children and Teens: What You Need to Know, hosted by Fairfax County Public School Parent Resource Center, Dunn Loring.

December 2- Future Quest career and college conference for youth, families and professionals. Held at GMU Fairfax Campus.

December 4- Understanding the IEP and Eligibility Process, hosted by Alexandria City Schools Parent Resource Center, Alexandria.

December 5- VDOE Diploma Options & Credit Accommodations Training, hosted by PEATC, Springfield.

December 6- Ticket to Work and SSA Work Incentives, hosted by The Arc of No Va, Falls Church and online.

December 7- Middle School Connection, hosted by Loudoun County Public Schools Parent Resource Services, Leesburg.

December 14- College Steps Open House at NVCC Annandale and at NVCC Loudoun

January 8- Mindfully Managing Caregiver Stress: Proven Tools for Reducing Stress and Taking Care of Yourself, While Taking Care of Others, hosted by FFF, Fairfax.

January 8 - Tax Tips for Parents of a Child with Special Needs What You Need to Know, hosted by Access Ministry of McLean Bible Church, Tysons.

January 9- What Legal Paperwork Do Kinship Caregivers Need? Hosted by FFF, Fairfax.

January 19- Identifying and Treating Anxiety in Children and Teens, hosted by the Fairfax County Public Schools Parent Resource Center, Dunn Loring.

January 23- Next meeting of The Arc of Greater Prince William Autism Support Group , Woodbridge.

January 31- Becoming an Active Member of your Child's Individualized Education Program Team, hosted by Arlington Public Schools Parent Resource Center, Arlington.

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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