Together for Families: Bringing together all of us who work to strengthen families

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“It’s like a college seminar for your brain, and a family reunion for your heart.” That’s how my colleague Francie Zimmerman described the Strengthening Families Summit held in Chicago in 2014 – the fourth national summit for the movement built around the Protective Factors Framework. My organization, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), hasn’t organized a Summit since then, due to staffing and funding changes. So I leapt at the opportunity to co-host a new national conference with the National Family Support Network (NFSN). My brain has been brimming over with ideas and questions I want to discuss with others who care about helping families to build protective factors, and my heart can’t wait to connect with all of the wonderful people who share that passion and are doing the work every day in their communities and states.

Together for Families: Strong Families, Promising Futures will take place for the first time, October 15-17, 2018, in Cleveland. Co-hosted by CSSP, NFSN, and the Greater Cleveland Family Strengthening Network, the conference will weave together content related to family support and family strengthening for those working at both the systems and program levels. The three conference tracks include how people are helping families to build the Strengthening Families protective factors (from CSSP), how programs are implementing the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support (from NFSN), and general family support promising practice and innovations. Be Strong Families is one of the national partner organizations helping to plan to conference and coming to share their valuable and inspirational work with participants from around the country.

On Monday, October 15, NFSN and Be Strong Families are offering special pre-conference sessions. NFSN will offer a full-day certification in the Standards of Quality and a training on Developing and Sustaining Effective Parent Advisory Councils. Be Strong Families will offer a morning session on Reducing Toxic Stress by Living the Protective Factors, and an afternoon Be Strong Families Vitality Café – you can come for the morning, the afternoon, or the full day. When the full conference kicks off on Tuesday morning, we will dive with a plenary focused on resilience with breakout sessions focused on a wide variety of topics related to family support and helping families to build protective factors. On Wednesday morning, I am looking forward to facilitating an engaging and thought-provoking plenary session on how we can all work to advance equity with a number of speakers, including Be Strong Families’ Sarita Sashington and parent leaders.

Whether you are implementing Parent Cafes, shifting practice in your program or agency to focus on protective factors, or advocating for policies that support families – there will be something for you at this conference. You will find kindred spirits from other parts of the country and you will come home with new ideas and fresh inspiration to better support parents and families in your community.

Learn more about the conference – and register by October 5 – here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-together-for-families-national-conference-tickets-47118747442.

See you there!

Article by Cailin O’Connor (Senior Associate, CSSP)

Jessie SchrantzComment