Upcoming Family Connection Trainings!

Our Seat at the Table – A Parent Leadership Training

SPEAKER: Sally Baker and Melissa Sanders
DATE: Thursday, March 11 and 25, 2021
(Must attend both sessions to receive a certificate of completion)
LOCATION:   Zoom Meeting  10:00 am – 12:00 pm

You can make an impact as an EQUAL member of any team / group. Learn how to use your voice and journey as a parent to make a difference and advocate for children.

Journey Toolkit: The Power of Organization

DATE: Thursday, March 11, 2021
LOCATION:   Zoom Meeting  6:00 – 7:30 pm


Parents will learn how to manage what can be an overwhelming amount of paperwork related to educational and medical services and about the key transitions that their child may go through.

Understanding the IEP

SPEAKER: Sally Baker, Director of Family Engagement
DATE: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Zoom Meeting 10:00 – 11:30 am

Participants will be provided a thorough introduction to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) that serves as a road map for education services.

Overview of Medicaid and the TEFRA program

SPEAKER: Sherry Larson
DATE: Tuesday, March 23, 2021
LOCATION:   Zoom Meeting  1:00 – 2:30 pm

This workshop will provide an overview of Medicaid and TEFRA eligibility.

FCSC Survey!

We are surveying parents of children receiving special education services or accommodations under a 504 plan. The survey results will be used to develop products and programs to better help families and their children. We will also use this information to inform the SC Department of Education about students’ needs. This survey is confidential and no identifying information will be shared. Professionals: please share this survey with the families you serve!


Welcome Cathy Stevens!

Our Board of Directors is very pleased to welcome new member, Cathy Stevens! Cathy is the Director of the White-Riley-Peterson Afterschool Policy Fellowship at Furman University. Cathy also directs the WhatWorksSC Clearinghouse Award program and assists with the Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative. She also serves on the community advisory council for Prisma Health Children’s Hospital – Upstate. Cathy and her husband Erik Ching have three children, Anders, Halle, and Evan. 


Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Jackson, Support Parent

Soon after COVID-19 shutdown, Liz Jackson gazed into her backyard and wondered, “How are we going to do this?!” Liz and husband Chuck are parents to Elise, age 27, and Emily, age 16. Elise has Autism and Sotos Syndrome. Keeping a regular routine is important to her well being. Isolation would be a challenge for Elise and all of Jackson family members.

Liz however, started thinking about the extra time at home together as an opportunity. She talked with her friends and neighbors the Gillam family, who also have two daughters. The families decided to isolate at the same time so they could create a routine and activities they could do together moving forward.

Then Liz got busy. Using stepping stones, her first project was creating an outdoor checkerboard court. Saturdays soon became dinner and movie night in the outdoor “theater” they set up using a Roku stick and easy-to-move TV. These projects were just the beginning. Eventually Liz created a 7-day calendar block to keep track of activities giving Elise the structure she needed. All members of both families helped with planning. They continued building on the new routine that bolstered everyone’s mental health. “The girls had always been friends. Now they are like sisters. As parents, our friendship deepened as our families bonded,” reflects Liz.

For a list of family-friendly activities and more photos from the Jackson and Gillam families, visit their story page!

Checkerboard, tic tac toe and hopscotch court

Backyard theater!


#RunCadenRun Update!

Last month we told you about the inspiring goal Caden Hightower set for his track team training: Run 80 miles during the month of February in support of his friend Luke Thompson. Luke was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Family Connection has been a part of the Thompson family’s journey from the beginning. Caden asked for per-mile pledges or one-time donations to donate to Family Connection and Grand Strand Miracle Leagues.

On February 28, Caden surpassed his goal, completing his February challenge with 85 miles! Friends, family, and teachers cheered him on as he crossed the finish line. We send a huge THANK YOU to Caden and hugs to both Caden and Luke! You can congratulate Caden too! Visit Run Caden Run.


Research Surveys

Young people: let your voice be heard
Youth Voice Amplified (YVA) is the newest committee for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP). They are currently recruiting youth and young adults who are interested in community/state level change, leadership development, and advocacy in state public health. Deadline: Friday, March 12th! Take Survey
Down Syndrome Survey
Online Survey: Memory, Attention and Mental Health in Down syndrome. The aim of this study is to understand how cognitive skills like memory and attention are related to mental health in individuals with Down syndrome. Who is eligible? Ages 10 – 18 years old with no existing Autism Spectrum Disorder. Contact Jessalin Good, graduate student, USC Aiken.


Moments Matter!
Are you a parent or caregiver of a child with Autism aged 6-11? The USC Autism and Family Lab is recruiting for the Moments Matter Project. Take part in the research study, receive personalized insights into your family's patterns and experiences, and receive a $30 gift card! Learn more or visit on Facebook!

Penn State Health Survey
Sponsored by Penn State Health to better understand the effects of COVID-19 on families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Seeking participants who are at least 18-years-old, speak English as a primary language, and have a school-aged child (ages 5-11) who has a primary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Get Involved!

We currently have volunteer leadership opportunities available to help plan the 2021 LOOK! and Buddy Walk events. We need your leadership to implement these exciting events and forward our mission! Become a Volunteer Leader!

Career Opportunity

Are you interested in joining the Family Connection Team? We currently have one position open for a Bi-lingual Family Engagement Manager. The Family Engagement Manager assists parents, caregivers, families, youth/individuals with disabilities in navigating systems of care, to include but not limited to, educational, healthcare, training opportunities.


We are proud to announce our new year-long partnership with HealthLinks Upstate Magazine and HealthLinks Charleston Magazine!

Healthlinks magazines highlight important health and wellness information for children and adults across our state. We are proud to partner with them and to have the opportunity to share the resources and services Family Connection can provide to SC families! We are delighted to see Hannah Grace Anderson and friends highlighted in the cover story of the current issue and to see our own Lisa Anderson’s story of courage and faith also included! Congratulations Hannah and Lisa—we love you!


COVID-19 Updates!

As of March 8, appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine can be made:
Anyone aged 55 and up; Frontline workers with increased occupational risk; People with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, including people ages 16-64 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions:

  • Cancer (current), chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI >30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.
  • People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 more likely. Read more!

Did you know?
The newly designated Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment Period (SEP) will run through Tuesday, May 15, 2021. The aim of the SEP is to increase access to affordable health insurance coverage for individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. The Health Care Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) provides affordable plan options. Please see the linked fact sheets (in English, and Spanish).  

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Save the Date!


Family Connection of South Carolina
1800 Saint Julian Place, Suite 104 | Columbia, South Carolina | 29204
1-800-578-8750 | Para Espanol 1-888-808-7462 | info@familyconnectionsc.org

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