Families Connected and the University of Oregon Best Buddies will host a Valentine Arts and Crafts event on Wednesday, February 10. Families can pick up a craft kit prior to the event and then join the group via Zoom for a fun crafting evening together.

Families living in Florence and Mapleton are also invited to pick up a Valentine Day Craft Kit provided by the Oregon Family Support Network, the Autism Society of Oregon and The Arc Families Connected.

The Oregon Department of Education has issued Ready Schools, Safe Learners Supplemental Guidance to help parents understand a school district’s responsibility in providing a free and appropriate public education during comprehensive distance learning and hybrid instruction. Also, read the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services Navigating the 2020-21 School Year to help families understand the role of support professionals during the 2020-21 school year.

If your child has struggled to access special education services during distance learning, has not received necessary services or if comprehensive distance learning has not worked, parents have the legal right to ask for compensatory education. Disability Rights Oregon recently released guidance on Requesting Compensatory Education Due to COVID-19.

Families of children 18 years and younger with significant support needs can be paid temporarily as Personal Support Workers (PSWs) to provide supports to their children during the COVID pandemic.

It takes time to become a PSW. Interested parents should contact their child's service coordinator to get this process started.

Families Connected will host a Conversation about Parents as Paid Support Professionals on Tuesday, February 23. Representatives from Lane County Developmental Disabilities Services, The Arc Lane County and the Employer Resource Connection will be available to answer parent questions.

Families affected by the Holiday Farm Fire may call the Safe + Strong Helpline at1-800-923-HELP (4357) for referrals to professional services and information about disaster-related community services. Learn more at Helping Our Oregon Communities Recover from Wildfires.

Also, The Arc Lane County is one of the Oregon Health Authority's community-based organizations, providing wraparound supports to families affected by the wildfires and COVID-19. For assistance, visit the CARES Center.

Tax season is right around the corner. Read How to Get the Most COVID Financial Relief When Filing Your Taxes This Year to help you get more money back or at least lower your tax bill. Before filing, don't forget to see if your family qualifies for the Disability and the Earned Income Tax Credit.