Mid-Atlantic Council on Family Relations

Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Council on Family Relations (MACFR). We are a regional affiliate of the National Council on Family Relations [NCFR].  Our membership includes family professionals in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

Our Purpose

  • To plan and act together on concerns relevant to all forms of marriage and family relationships
  • To promote and coordinate educational efforts to help and strengthen families
  • To encourage research and dissemination of information on family issues
  • To further effective social action promoting strong, diverse and vibrant families

For more information about the MACFR, email Carolyn Grasse-Bachman, our president.

MACFR Activities and Programs

Annual Conference

MACFR co-hosts a conference in the fall with speakers and workshops focused on a specific theme. The title for the 2011 workshop presented by Dr. Andrew Behnke was "How to Improve the Lives of Latino Families through Effective Service Delivery and Research." A brief description of the workshop includes: Learn ways to do more than simply engage Latino populations and families. Find ways to create partnerships, build resources, edutain, and inspire Latino clientele personally and professionally.

Dr. Andrew Behnke is an Assistant Professor and Human Development and Extension Specialist at North Andrew Behnke Carolina State University (NCSU) and is an expert on parenting and family issues of the Latino population. He recently received the 2011 NCSU Extension Community of Practice Achievement Award  for his contributions to Extension's Just in Time Parenting (JITP) Community of Practice. Dr. Behnke is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on Family Relations and has secured multiple grants to support his work with Latino families, which focuses on topics including fathering, parental involvement in the education of their children, and couple relationships among Latinos.

The half-day workshop was held from 1-4pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. 

The Mid-Atlantic Council on Family Relations and supporting universities and agencies sponsored this conference for the purpose of:

  • Recognizing the critical role of families
  • Encouraging research and dissemination of information about families
  • Fostering dialogue among family professionals and educators
  • Promoting family life education

Proposals for future conferences and workshops are always considered and may include descriptions of successful programs, research findings, curriculum, panel discussions, participation exercises, or other creative formats.  We expect the program to be interactive for participants.

Proposal Guidelines
Page 1: Title page listing:

Title of the presentation
Name(s) of the presenter(s)
Affiliation to an agency or institution
Complete mailing address, daytime telephone number, and e-mail

Page 2: One page abstract of the presentation to include:

a) Title of the presentation
b) Objectives of the presentation
c) Overview of workshop content
d) Proposed method of presentation (e.g. discussion, lecture)
e) How the presentation relates to the theme
f) Type of equipment needed (overhead projector, TV/VCR, easel, etc.)

Page 3: Brief biographical sketch of the presenter(s).

Previous P/DCFR and MACFR conference/workshop topics
1999 - Men in Families
2000 - Raising Healthy Children in a Diverse  Society
2001 - The Power of Positive Expectations: Schools, Families, and Communities
2002 - Intergenerational Issues in Families
2003 - Creating Healthy Families: A Toolbox
2004 - International Year of the Family
2005 - Families in Transition
2006 - Families Surviving Loss
2007 - Families and Health
2008 - Responding to Families in Trauma
2009 - Family Ethics and Moral Values
2010 - Families and Economic Uncertainty
2011 - Improving Lives of Latino Families


The Distinguished Service to Families Award is given in recognition of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution (vocational or avocational) to the cause of family life. The award is given at the state level and makes nominations for the NCFR national awards when appropriate.

Student Support

MACFR provides various opportunities for student involvement. Students may attend career workshops as well as the annual conference and local meetings. Conference fees are reduced for students and awards for the outstanding student posters/papers are given at the conferences.


MACFR publishes a periodic newsletter which includes a listing of family-related conferences and programs, updates on resources and new programs, book reviews and more.

MACFR Officers

Carolyn Grasse-Bachman, President
Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Human Development and Family Studies
Penn State Harrisburg

Jean Marie St. Clair-Christman, President-elect
Human Development and Family Studies
Penn State York

Erin Boyd-Soisson, Ph.D., CFLE, Secretary
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science
Messiah College

Raeann R. Hamon, Ph.D., CFLE, Treasurer
Distinguished Professor of Family Science & Gerontology
Messiah College  

Bethany Willis Hepp, Membership Chair
Visiting Instructor
Towson University 


All members of the National Council on Family Relations from the states, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland are automatic members of MACFR, their regional affiliate. If you are not a member of NCFR and you would like to become a member of MACFR, contact Bethany Willis Hepp at