Friday September 30, 2016
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
San Francisco Design Center Galleria
101 Henry Adams Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Join us for a great party for a great cause!

Individual Reservations $150/person
Sponsorship packages start at $500

For more information, contact:
Kenneth McElderry: 415-282-7494 x 132; kmcelderry@supportforfamilies.org
Or visit www.supportforfamilies.org for updates!


The 2016 Information & Resource Conference Another Success

Over 500 people participated in our Information & Resource Conference on March 5th at John O'Connell High School. Over 300 parents, professionals, and community members attended 24 morning and afternoon workshops, visited 75 organizations in the exhibitor hall, gathered resources, and listened to keynote speaker Dr. Mary Bacon, Ph.D.

Visit our Post-IRC Portal for conference photos, workshop slides, and exhibitor contact information

Families Brave the Rain for Access to Adventure 2016!

photos courtesy of ChengCheng Huang, SFCD volunteer

We are excited to say that Access to Adventure was a phenomenal event. We braved the rain and the chilly winds to host an arts and activities festival for kids and youth with disabilities and special healthcare needs, and what a day it was. We saw and danced to live music; got superhero capes (the Cape Fashion Show was amazing!); met, held, and learned about live animals; met the ATV division of Park Rangers; and so so so much more. Volunteers were with us days before, prepping materials; and were on-site with us carrying tables, painting faces, giving out food, organizing and reorganizing (thanks rain!); all with smiles and a jovial attitude. The exhibitors, volunteers, and live music were all tied together by a passion and sense of community; the smiles as kids danced in front of the stage and the goofy giggles during the cape fashion show all took the event from soggy and chilly to a forever memory. Thanks again, everyone, and we look forward to seeing you at Access to Adventure next year!

2016 Access to Adventure Photos

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The Benefits of Parent
Involvement: What Research Has to Say

Excerpt from Home-School Relations: Working Successfully with Parents and Families, by G. Olsen, M.L. Fuller, 2008 edition, p. 129-130
For more information about this article, contact Joe Goyos, Education Programs Director: jgoyos@supportforfamilies.org

Researchers have evidence for the positive effects of parent involvement on children, families, and school when schools and parents continuously support and encourage the children's learning and development (Eccles & Harold, 1993; Illinois State Board of Education, 1993). According to Henderson and Berla (1994), "the most accurate predictor of a student's achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which that student's family is able to:

  1. Create a home environment that encourages
  2. Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children's achievement and future careers
  3. Become involved in their children's education at school and in the community (p. 160)

Henderson and Berla (1994) reviewed and analyzed eighty-five studies that documented the comprehensive benefits of parent involvement in children's education. This and other studies show that parent involvement activities that are effectively planned and well implemented result in substantial benefits to children, parents, educators, and the school.

Benefits for the Children
Children tend to achieve more, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents' education level.

Children generally achieve better grades, test scores, and attendance.

Children consistently complete their homework.

Children have better self-esteem, are more self-disciplined, and show higher aspirations and motivation toward school.

Children's positive attitude about school often results in improved behavior in school and less suspension for disciplinary reasons.

Fewer children are being placed in special education and remedial classes.

Children from diverse cultural backgrounds tend to do better when parents and professionals work together to bridge the gap between the culture at home and the culture in school.

Junior high and high school students whose parents remain involved usually make better transitions and are less likely to drop out of school.

Benefits for the Parents
Parents increase their interaction and discussion with their children and are more responsive and sensitive to their children's social, emotional, and intellectual developmental needs.

Parents are more confident in their parenting and decision-making skills.

As parents gain more knowledge of child development, there is more use of affection and positive reinforcement and less punishment on their children.

Parents have a better understanding of the teacher's job and school curriculum.

When parents are aware of what their children are learning, they are more likely to help when they are requested by teachers to become more involved in their children's learning activities at home.

Parents' perceptions of the school are improved and there are stronger ties and commitment to the school.

Parents are more aware of, and become more active regarding, policies that affect their children's education when parents are requested by school to be part of the decision-making team.

Benefits for the Educators

When schools have a high percentage of involved parents in and out of schools, teachers and principals are more likely to experience higher morale.

Teachers and principals often earn greater respect for their profession from the parents.

Consistent parent involvement leads to improved communication and relations between parents, teachers, and administrators.

Teachers and principals acquire a better understanding of families' cultures and diversity, and they form deeper respect for parents' abilities and time.

Teachers and principals report an increase in job satisfaction.

Benefits for the School
Schools that actively involve parents and the community tend to establish better reputations in the community.

Schools also experience better community support.

School programs that encourage and involve parents usually do better and have higher quality programs than programs that do not involve parents.

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Are You Ready? Preparing for Emergencies: Tips for Families

A resource developed by Family Voices

Natural disasters and emergencies – like tornados, floods, hurricanes and other storms – can happen anywhere, at any time. We can’t prevent these disasters, but we can get ready for them. And we can help our children be prepared for them, too. YOU know what your family needs. You are the best person to help your family if a disaster happens. Don’t wait until disaster strikes – take steps now to prepare!

Think about potential situations that may affect your family: natural disasters, fires, power outages, pandemics, terrorism.

  • Talk to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s needs in a disaster or emergency.

  • Talk with family members, friends, and neighbors about their experiences in your community.

  • Ask your child’s doctor about storing medicine for an emergency or how to get prescriptions filled during an emergency.


  • Talk with your family about what can happen in disasters.

  • Learn about emergency alerts and warnings in your community.

  • Create a paper list of important contact information – family members, doctors, hospitals, local schools – include phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses.

  • Identify a go-to contact for family members to connect with in case you become separated.

  • Create a personal support network of people who know your child and have agreed to help during a disaster: family members, close friends, neighbors, your child’s caregiver or teacher, pediatrician, etc.

  • Talk to your child’s school or child care facility about their plans.

  • Consider an identification badge, bracelet, or card for your child.

  • Contact your local first responders ahead of time if your child has a medical condition that requires their services.

  • Create a Personal Preparedness Plan for your child to share with caregivers and schools. An example of such a plan can be found here:
    Learn about Emergency Alerts at


  • Daily routine items – medicines, tooth brush. Include items that can calm your child during a disaster, such as sensory needs, toys, books, etc.

  • Water and a 3-day supply of non-perishable food

  • Battery-powered radio & extra batteries – flashlight – cell phone with chargers

  • First aid kit

  • Copies of important documents such as medical records, bank accounts info, etc.

    You don’t have to have everything in this kit right away. Start with the things you have on hand, and add new items to the kit over time.


  • Visit your local fire station and police department so your child can meet “disaster helpers.”

  • Volunteer to help your community prepare.

  • During a disaster, help others by donating needed goods or services.

Keep in mind that a trained and informed public can help keep communities safe.

Family Voices of CA - California's Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F):
Ready.gov (Homeland Security) - Individuals with
Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs:
American Academy of Pediatrics - Emergency
Information Form for Children with Special Needs:
FEMA & American Red Cross - Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs:


MY LOCAL EMA NUMBER: 510-286-0895

Click here for a PDF of this Emergency Checklist

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California Children’s Services Advocates Release A Redesign Principles Document With Recommendations For The Department Of Health Care Services

by Sara Godley Family Voices of CA (FVCA) Communications Manager - sgodley@familyvoicesofca.org

Approximately 200,000 children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) in California are served by California Children’s Services (CCS), one of the oldest public health systems in the country. CCS has many critically important components that have driven excellent health outcomes for medically complex and fragile children, including low-income children and children without legal documentation.

Last year, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced that they would start their “Whole-Child” model in specific counties no earlier than January 2017. In the first phase of this approach, nearly 20% of CYSHCN in the CCS program will be moved to managed care. CCS advocates and parents are concerned that by switching to managed care their children would lose access to the specialty providers that know them so well.

A statewide network of CCS advocates created a redesign principles document outlining recommendations regarding how the next steps of the CCS redesign process should specifically address family partnerships, program standards, continuity of care, monitoring, and rates. This document was submitted to the DHCS and we hope its contents will assist you as you think about and advocate for improved services for CYSHCN.

Click here for the document in its entirety.

We encourage you to read the whole document, but we’ve also summarized four of the document’s key points here:

Family members, caregivers, and CYSHCN should be engaged to partner in meaningful decision-making at all levels. A family advisory board on the CCS “Whole-Child” Model should be established, and each managed care plan should also have a family advisory group. To support their participation in these groups, families and youth must receive training, reimbursements, and child care. Plans should be required to establish relationships with Family Resource Centers/Family Empowerment Centers/Parent Training and Information Centers so they can provide the ongoing information, education, and support that families and youth need to participate as true partners.

Many CCS conditions are lifelong. Children may be dependent on drugs or medical devices to function and thrive. These children should not be required to switch treatments arbitrarily at the end of twelve months. This standard is consistent within the current CCS program when children move from one county to another.

The CCS program serves California’s most medically vulnerable children; as such, it is essential that any redesign proposals are thoroughly vetted by the appropriate legislative policy committees. Attempting to redesign the CCS program in budget trailer bill language, or by simply allowing the existing carve-out to expire, does not allow adequate time for scrutiny of all of the implications of the proposal.

CCS standards should be maintained in all counties whether CCS is carved in or out of managed care. Program and provider participation standards should remain the responsibility of the state CCS program and be enforced and applied equally. Existing CCS credentialing and utilization standards should not be weakened in any way. Treatment decisions should be based on CCS guidelines, and if such guidelines do not exist, should be based on the clinical practice guidelines or protocols of the relevant pediatric specialty society.

For more information on how to get involved on this issue, contact Pip Marks, FVCA Manager, at pipmarks@familyvoicesofca.org

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What is Inclusion?


Inclusion is an approach, not a program.

Inclusion is…

An attitude and approach that seeks to ensure that every person, regardless of ability or background, meaningfully participates in all aspects of life.

An inclusive environment is a welcoming environment:

Disability is a natural part of the human experience, and an important part – but not the only part - of an individual’s identity. Get to know children with disabilities as people with their own interests and ideas.
Inclusion is also about gender, class, ethnicity, language, and other characteristics.
Research documents the benefits of inclusion for typically developing peers, as well as for children with disabilities.

An inclusive program:

Has physically accessible and easy to use facilities and materials.
Goes beyond accessibility to support involvement - Students are not just there next to their peers, but are actively involved.
Has a consistent policy and strategy for determining accommodations that allow all children to participate.
- An individualized assessment is used to understand the child’s needs.
- This policy is communicated clearly to family members/guardians.

Staff and leaders in inclusive programs:

Focus on strengths rather than limitations.
- “What can the child do?” not just “what can’t the child do?”
Focus on similarities first, then differences.
- “What does Julia have in common with the other children?”
Actively treat everyone – including each other - with dignity and respect.
- Person-first language, “a child with a disability” rather than “disabled child” keeps our focus on the person
Speaking directly to, rather than about or for, a child.
Develop written plans for including children with disabilities.
- Evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of those plans over time.
Are responsive to requests for accommodations, but don’t assume children with disabilities need special treatment.
Teach all students to value diversity and to respect and connect with others.

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2015 Annual Report Summary

The Support for Families Annual Report for 2015 will be available soon on our website and at the Support for Families offices!

This is the first full year we have used our new Salesforce database. This database has allowed us to keep better records of the issues and outcomes of the families we serve and more accurately track the numbers of families who received our services.

Some highlights:

  • We are proud to report that 1,473 (unduplicated) families received one or more service from Support for Families. This is the first time we have been able to report this unduplicated number across all our services.    

  • In 2015 Family Resource Specialists and social workers provided individualized information and support to 1,028 families and 296 professionals (unduplicated numbers), making more than 3,382 phone, e-mail or in-person contacts.

  • Support for Families provided 330 workshops, clinics and other education events in 2015. Attendance at these educational events for parents and professionals totaled 4,048 with 2,101 unduplicated participants.

  • 311 (unduplicated) family members attended one of the 25 Support Groups active in 2015.

  • Total attendance at our 13 family recreation and social events reached 1,147 children and family members.

  • More than 290 volunteers contributed more than 2,451 hours of service.

Support for Families continues to obtain feedback from the families using our services. For example, in more than 190 surveys from families living in low income neighborhoods and those with limited English who attended Support for Families workshops and clinics …

  • 97.9% agreed or strongly agreed that the training increased their knowledge of their child’s special needs.

  • 95.7% reported that they felt more supported.

  • 97.4% reported that they increased their knowledge of resources or services for their children.

  • 94.7% learned strategies to advocate more effectively for their children.

  • 95.8% reported that they increased their ability to communicate with professionals.

 As one parent told us:
“I am so amazed with all you do… It exceeded all my expectations!”

The 2015 Annual Report includes information on our activities during the year and great photos of some of our 2015 events. The report also summarizes the agency’s finances. (The complete annual audited financial statement will be available at our offices later this year). And we are honored to list the names of more than 500 individuals, couples, groups and businesses who made gifts to Support for Families in 2015 to sustain our work!

Please visit the SFCD website (www.supportforfamilies.org), stop by the Family Resource Center, or call the office to request a copy of the 2015 Annual Report.

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Reviews from the Joan Cassel Memorial Library

The books below are a few examples of the types of books added in our lending library. The library is open when the Family Resource Center is open (MWF, 9:30am - 4:30pm; T,TH 12:30pm - 8:30pm) and during onsite clinics and workshops.

Tom Goes to Kindergarten
by Margaret Wild & David Legge

I picked this book because I am sure many of you are contemplating your child going to Kindergarten soon. It is a humorous look at a family of pandas planning to send their first cub to kindergarten. Mom, dad and baby sister take Tom to his first day of kindergarten. They all experience the first day. Tom becomes confident and requests they drop him off the second day. The book is large with colorful simple illustrations. It is perfect for a sharing time at home or with a larger group by a teacher or librarian.

Gemina The Crooked-Neck Giraffe
by Karen B. Winnick

This is a picture book based on a true story of Gemina, a giraffe at the Santa Barbara.  She started out with a straight neck but at age 3 years, a bump appeared on her neck. No one ever knew why this happened and Gemina continued to do everything the other giraffe’s did and was accepted by them. Soon people came from all over to see this special giraffe. Many of her visitors also had differences and seeing her gave them courage. It is a charming book with big colorful illustrations. The story is simple, easy to read and very true. I have met adults, who went to Santa Barbara as children. To meet Gemina and they verify that her neck was very crooked and she enjoyed life as a celebrity.

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls

This book is one of 4 books being honored with an ALA Schneider Family Award. The annual award is given to books  portraying the disability experience. It won in the 0-8 years category. Emmanuel was born in Ghana with only one working leg. He was considered a curse to his family because of his disability. His story is one of hard work and courage. He did many things a person with a disability had never done and he continues to fight for rights for people with disabilities in his country. His first major feat, as a young man, was to bicycle ride of 400 miles around his country in 10 days. More of his continuing story can be read on the website: Http://www.emmanuelsdream.org/. This is an excellent read-a-loud book with simple, colorful, large illustrations and a minimal amount of words on each page. It reads like poetry and his message will stay with the listeners as well as the readers.

ADHD & The Focused Mind: A Guide to Giving Your ADHD Child Focus, Discipline & Self-Confidence
by Sarah Cheyette, Peter Johnson and Ben Cheyette

Martial arts and ADHD, are they connected? Yes, they are connected in that the techniques of discipline and focus are helpful to individuals with ADHD. This book has a local author in Peter Johnson, a 7th degree black belt holder in Karate and owner of a Karate school in San Bruno. He uses his coaching skills with children with special needs in his classes. The other two authors are a pediatric neurologist and a psychiatrist, both experts in ADHD. The chapters progress as  a teacher would plan his classes. We learn about ADHD, plan and set goals to succeed. The person with ADHD learns about himself and trains to focus with self-discipline and goes on to be a part of a team  and accepts defeat as temporary. We learn how to choose a “coach” to work with our child and consider the possibility of using medication as a tool. It is a book that is well-organized and very easy to use. It has a Contents Page, Conclusion, Resources, Homework Log, References, Authors and Alphabetical Index.

The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child, by Janet Lintala with Martha Murphy

ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorders is a category that contains many forms of Autism. Treatments and how effective they are vary. This particular book uses a holistic approach. The author, educated and experienced in her subject looks at the GI health of unhappy, irritable and sick children on the Spectrum. She has seen major improvements in children and adults on the spectrum  through the use of enzymes, probiotics and antimicrobials. Her own son was her first subject and has succeeded in life by following his mother’s basic GI support protocol. It is a user friendly resource and gives the reader another option to try in helping a child or adult with autism.  The reader is helped with a Contents page, Epilogue, Endnotes, Glossary, Resources, Parent Testimonials, and an alphabetical index.  This is an alternative treatment.



Reviews by Elaine Butler, Librarian

Each of these books has been personally researched and requested for review purposes by me for introduction to you, the reader.

Support for Families maintains the Joan Cassel Memorial Library which is a lending library for families and professionals, comprised of multi-lingual books, reference materials and media related to children with disabilities and special health care needs. The library is open during regular business hours.

If you have the title or author of a book you’d like to read, please go to our website and do a search. Go to this link and enter the title or author or subject and click search. If we have the item, call us and the librarian will hold the item for you until you can come to the office to pick it up. Try the online catalog or come and browse the shelves by category, new items added weekly.

Visist our library online at: http://www.supportforfamilies.org/library.html

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Support for Families gratefully acknowledges gifts from the following individuals, groups and businesses, received Feb 1, 2016 through Apr 30, 2016. We apologize for any omissions or misspellings; please contact us so we can correct our records.

Foundations, Groups, and Businesses
Theta Delta Xi
Chapter OX, P.E.O. Sisterhood
Harold L. Wyman Foundation
Falletti Foods
Gilfix & LaPoll Associates, LLP

Ed Isana, in memory of Roderick Sigua
Diane Kavrell
C.J. Kingsley
Julia Griffths
Antonio Novelli
Larry Baker
David Hoffman
Deirdre Devine
Susan Monson
Leslie Kues
Adriana Ayala
Emma Campos
Jeffrey Garrison
Tamara Faggen, in memory of Irma Thaler
Nicole Nguyen, in honor of Tracey Bullock

In Memory of Robert Lanzone
Albert Nigg
John and Geraldine Marotto
Umberto and Loanna Bozzetto
Charles and Mary Vella
Jimmy Ford
Robert and Liana Figone
Clara Lawrence
Anton’s House
Joseph Scafidi
Joseph Marotto

In Honor of Heather Fischer
Saul and Barbara Timens
Paul Fischer

Workplace Giving
Angela Wong
Marc Crayton
Simon Juridico



Corporate Matching
United Airlines
Electronic Arts Outreach, in honor of Jake Gamboa

Information & Resource Conference 2016

Itani Dental
UCSF Department of Pediatrics
Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital

Ken Cooper
Adam Wang
Ronald Wolff
Kids Enjoy Excercise

Family Voices 2016 Summit
Maternal and Child Health Bureau
California Children’s Hospital Association
California Healthcare Foundation
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford
Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
CenCal Health Plan
Disability Rights California
Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach
Valley Children’s Healthcare
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital
Children’s Speciality Care Coalition
UCSF Department of Pediatrics
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals
Together We Grow

In-Kind Donations
Bay Area Discovery Museum
California Academy of Sciences
Children’s Creativity Museum
Walt Disney Family Museum
Oakland A’s
San Francisco 49ers

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