Children and youth who have intellectual disabilities or developmental disorders are at elevated risk for co-occurring psychiatric or behavioral problems. These young people pose a serious challenge for administrators, program directors and clinicians, especially when they present with aggressive or disruptive behaviors. When appropriate community services have not been organized, these youth can be among the most difficult and costly to serve. Across the country, their families report relentless stress, partly because it is very difficult to obtain the help they need. This paper provides resources and strategies that have improved outcomes and lowered costs, while diminishing risk for institutional placements, referrals to juvenile justice and child welfare.
In March of 2023, the U.S. Department of Education released Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates for students and school staff, featuring specific recommendations for evidence-based practices that allow students to learn, grow, and be successful. To enhance state and local implementation of these guiding principles, a collaborative of technical assistance centers serving the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools developed a series of four fact sheets. The series describes best practices and approaches to help support and respond to students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and academic needs, including practices designed to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline in schools.
Each fact sheet is tailored to a specific audience at the school or district level:
The fact sheets also feature resources to help support stakeholders in this important work.
Fact sheets are available in English and Spanish.
Presented live on February 22, 2023, this virtual panel session was hosted by Northern Virginia Family Network (nvfn.org) and facilitated by Formed Families Forward and NAMI Northern Virginia.
Victor Martin, Ruthy Marcado, Alexandria City Public Schools
Jenny Sexton, Arlington Public Schools
Stefan Mascoll, Fairfax County Public Schools
Rebecca Sharp, Falls Church Public Schools
Blaise Carland, Megan Marshall, Loudoun County Public Schools
Mallory McKnight, Julie Crawford, Prince William County Schools
A recording of the session and a resource sheet with links mentioned during the session are available.
A recording with Spanish captions will be available soon.
This tip sheet provides parents and allies of youth and young adults with lived experience of a mental health condition tips be able to improve their connection with them. This tip sheet was developed as a collaboration between the family member and young adult advisory boards that work with the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research at University of Massachusetts. The tips are based on advisory board members’ real experiences.
This September 2021 Guide from the Virginia CSA State and Local Advisory Team. The Children’s Services Act (CSA) is a planning and funding process to help meet the needs of children and families in Virginia. This document provides parents and families information on eligibility for CSA and other aspects of the CSA process.
The Children’s Services Act is a Virginia law created to develop and fund various services and supports for eligible children and their families. Services are approved through a multi-disciplinary team process and monitored by the local CSA program. Funding is a shared responsibility of local and state governments. Assistance through the CSA might be appropriate if your child needs mental health, behavioral supports, or other resources not funded through private insurance or Medicaid.
This fact sheet from the Northern Virginia Family Network, of which FFF is an active member, provides an overview of social emotional learning efforts in the schools. It offers families information about how they can be involved in SEL efforts in their children’s schools.
From Understood.org, these worksheets are tools for kids and parents/caregivers to identify and prepare for holiday stressors.
The holidays can be hard for kids who learn and think differently. Things that are supposed to be fun — special holiday meals, chitchat with friends and relatives — can be stressful. There may be unspoken (or even spoken) comparisons to other kids. All these demands can lead to behavior problems .
This publication from the Addiction Policy Forum and Warren County, Ohio is for adults who come into contact with children impacted by a parent’s addiction and provides information about how to help. It is meant for anyone—teachers, coaches, pastors, relatives, friends, neighbors.
The toolkit offers resources for understanding adverse childhood events, what to look for if you suspect a child might have a parent with a substance use disorder, what you can do to help, and more.
The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) National Training Center offers free training, resources, and other information to improve mental health services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. By serving as a national clearinghouse, it offers access to the most current evidence-based, trauma-informed, culturally responsive practices that address the mental health needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities National Training Center (MHDD-NTC) is funded by the Administration for Community Living, US Department of Health and Human Services.
A description of Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), from the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. TBRI is a an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors.
This article from NACAC describes the 3-5-7 Model used to treat children and youth.
The 3-5-7 Model is designed to help professionals and parents work with children and youth to address these issues of grief and loss. It is an evidenced-informed, guided practice approach that supports the work of children and parents in grieving their losses and rebuilding their relationships in an effort to achieve well-being, safety, and permanency. The model incorporates theoretical underpinnings from child development, attachment, separation and loss, trauma, family systems, and relationship development.
Funded by Va Department of Social Services, the Northern Post Adoption Regional Consortium offers case management, crisis supports, training, and other services for post-adoptive families. It is a partnership between The Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.), enCircle, Children’s Home Society and NACAC to offer post adoption services and supports.
All families who have finalized adoptions of children ages birth through 18 years and reside in Virginia are eligible for services at no cost. This includes families that have adopted domestically, internationally and through foster care.
This Joint federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMS) informational Bulletin provides guidance to states and school systems about addressing mental health and substance use issues in schools. It provides examples of approaches for services in schools and describes some Medicaid authorities that states may use to cover services.
Several best practice models, including multi-tiered systems of supports, are discussed.
The Virginia Family Network (VFN) is a statewide network of families who support, educate, and empower other families with children and youth with mental health needs while also promoting family-driven and youth-guided policy throughout the child-serving systems. The initiative is designed to “meet the family where they are” through activities such as providing support groups, training, resources, and mentorship from other families with children and youth with mental health needs. We are committed to ensuring that no matter where a family lives, they have access to the support and information that they need so that no family ever feels alone. VFN is Virginia’s Statewide Family Network and voice for families.
VFN is a program of NAMI Virginia.
At Portland State University, the Pathways to Positive Futures center aims to improve the lives of youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions through rigorous research and effective training and dissemination. Our work is guided by the perspectives of young people and their families, and based in a positive development framework.
The Substance Abuse Prevention program, a partnership between the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and Fairfax County Public Schools, works to provide substance use prevention, assessments and treatment to adolescents who are at risk of or who are actively using substances.
Specialized staff at seven high schools ensure youth have access to services to reduce substance use and address underlying issues that may lead to the decision to use. The program is confidential and staff are well versed in substance use and recovery.