Join us on Thursday, May 5th, 2022 at the State Capitol State Park in Salem, OR. After two years of virtual meetings, events, and celebrations, Oregon Family Support Network, is pleased to bring back an in-person Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day celebration with a notable change!  It is time that we move from Awareness and into Acceptance about Children’s Mental Health needs and challenges – and consider that Acceptance changes everything!  So why are we changing this language and what difference does it make?  The National Federation of Families is OFSN’s parent organization, and we agree with what they haveClick to Read More

The State of Oregon has released revised school opening guidelines.  These are called Ready Schools, Safe Learners – Guidance for School Year 2020-2021  (Version 5.6.2 – February 19, 2021.)

These guidelines help schools decide when they can open and how they can open.

As parents and family members we can read this document to better understand when schools are likely to open and the factors that underlie the decisions around how and when to open.

See the entire (88 page!) PDF document here.

If you’d like to talk with one of us at Reach Out Oregon / OFSN about what school reopening means for the specific situation of your child and family, please call us.

Here are some steps you can take to get compensatory education for your child. This “Know Your Rights” resource details the steps you should take if you would like to request compensatory education for your child.

Step 1 – Contact the school district
Step 2 – The IEP meeting
Step 3 – Get the results of the IEP decision in writing

It includes a sample letter for you to use when requesting compensatory education from the School District Special Education Director for your child.

Learn more about your child’s educational rights during COVID-19 here:    Know Your Rights: Making Up for Lost Education during COVID-19  .

Beginning February 1, 2021, Multnomah County renters who sign and return a Declaration of Financial Hardship for Eviction Protection form to their landlord stating that they are unable to afford their rent will be protected by Oregon’s statewide eviction moratorium (HB 4401).

The statewide eviction moratorium makes it unlawful for landlords to evict people who are unable to pay their rent and for landlords to evict renters without cause.

Renters must sign and return the form in order to be protected by the moratorium. Renters do not have to provide proof of their inability to pay.

The Oregon Health Authority News and Information page is resource that can enable families to stay up-to-date with changes in policy in our state. OFSN supports advocacy for Oregon families raising children with behavioral, emotional and mental health challenges, and staying informed enables you to be an advocate too.

A link to the OHA’s News and Information newsletter sign-up can be found at this link (click here.)

The OHA announces its news releases and meeting information at this link (click here.)

Stay in touch, and talk with OFSN if you have concerns or interests in which you’d like to get more involved.

The Secretary of State Audits Division has reviewed the chronic and systemic issues in Oregon’s mental health treatment system and found a range of problems that leave children and their families in crisis.   The office of the Secretary of State found (1) data shortfalls, (2) workforce shortages, (3) statutes that fail to support effective and efficient delivery of mental health treatments, (4) inadequate monitoring of General Fund dollars for community mental health programs, and (5) a lack of consistent leadership, strategic vision and governance, which creates system disarray.    The report makes 22 recommendations to OHA to address these problems. Click to Read More

Are your children experiencing back-to-school anxiety?  This article from the Child Mind Institute has some useful ideas about we can respond to our children’s feelings.

“Parents have a complicated mission dealing with all this anxiety and uncertainty: reassuring children that it’s safe to be away from them, while also encouraging them to be careful and preparing them to be flexible in case the situation changes. How do you do that?  Here are some pointers.”

Click here to read the article (external link).

Children and youth with disabilities and other challenges are finally seen and heard in court; on the way to being better understood.   Disability Rights Oregon reports today that in Portland, Oregon “on Tuesday, a federal judge denied a motion by the State of Oregon to dismiss a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of children with disabilities throughout the state who have not been allowed to attend a full day of school because of behavior….   In the ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken clearly spelled out the State of Oregon’s obligation under federal law to ensure that children with disabilitiesClick to Read More

The Child Mind Institute offers some important thoughts on how trauma affects kids in school.  This informative article by  Caroline Miller  is based on the work Dr. Nancy Rappaport (pictured) and Jessica Minahan.

“Dr. Rappaport offers tools for understanding and managing disruptive behavior in the classroom in her book,  The Behavior Code : A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, written with behavioral analyst Jessica Minahan. 

“We tend to think of trauma as the result of a frightening and upsetting event. But many children experience trauma through ongoing exposure, throughout their early development, to abuse, neglect, homelessness, domestic violence or violence in their communities. And it’s clear that chronic trauma can cause serious problems with learning and behavior.

“Trauma is particularly challenging for educators to address because kids often don’t express the distress they’re feeling in a way that’s easily recognizable — and they may mask their pain with behavior that’s aggressive or off-putting. As Nancy Rappaport, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who focuses on mental health issues in schools, puts it, “They are masters at making sure you do not see them bleed.” “