Family Life Educators, Assemble!

Dawn Cassidy, M.Ed., CFLE, Director of Family Life Education
/ NCFR Report, Spring 2023

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This June marks the third virtual one-day summit hosted by NCFR for Family Life Educators. For years, family practitioners have told us that the NCFR Annual Conference’s focus on academic research does not meet their needs and that Family Life Education practice deserved its own event. Getting used to meeting virtually during the pandemic provided an opportunity to pilot such a program in 2020. Now in its third year, we hope to attract new audiences to this year’s Family Life Education Virtual Summit scheduled for Friday, June 23, 2023.

It is perhaps fitting that the word summit was chosen for this annual event, because it allows us to position Family Life Education (FLE) as a high vantage point where family practitioners across multiple disciplines and employment paths can convene to find common ground. Family Life Educators perform critical work in supporting and building upon the strengths of families. The programs and services they offer make important and significant contributions to the well-being of individuals, families, and society. But there are many professionals working with families in different settings that may not consider their work to be Family Life Education or have not even heard of the phrase Family Life Education before. Each Summit provides an opportunity for these professionals to come together to share best practices, foster connections, and support and advance the practice of Family Life Education.

Goals and Theme of the 2023 Summit

The NCFR Annual Conference focuses on how research, theory, pedagogy, and practice all inform each other, with an emphasis on an academic audience; the Summit is about bringing together practitioners specifically to discuss their own work. The Summit represents another effort on the part of NCFR to provide more resources and services that are relevant to the FLE practitioner.

The theme of the 2023 FLE Virtual Summit, Unleashing the Power of Family Life Education: Increasing Our Impact, acknowledges the importance and value of FLE while also recognizing the need for greater understanding and visibility. Summit goals include:

  • Share information about best practices and practical tools to support and empower families,
  • Foster connection and build collaborative networks that bridge practice, policy, and research,
  • Offer tools, ideas, and strategies for advancing the practice of FLE and expanding its reach,
  • Share global and diverse voices, ideas, visions, initiatives, and actions in the practice of FLE and,
  • Empower and equip the current and next generation of FLE professionals.

The Summit Call for Proposals

The Summit Call for Proposals sought submissions that address the 10 FLE content areas as well as topics within the categories of Best Practices, FLE Methodology (plan, implement, assess, & evaluate an FLE program or business), Working with Specific Populations, and Specific Areas of Programming. Session formats include presentations and workshops ranging from 30, 60, and 75 minutes.

Summit proposals are evaluated on the following criteria - Clarity of Proposal Content, Evidence Base, Application to the Practice of FLE, Opportunities for Audience Participation, Contribution and Innovation, Implementation History or Capacity, and Presenter Qualifications.

The evaluation criteria recognize the importance of balancing a foundation in research and theory with the realities of the application of Family Life Education in the community. We really want to hear from practicing Family Life Educators who can share their experiences and successes in supporting and strengthening families.

Expanding the Summit Audience

Previous Summits were largely marketed to Certified Family Life Educators and members of NCFR. With the 2023 FLE Summit, we are expanding our reach to include a broader range of organizations and professionals that work with or for families in various capacities. We are reaching out to organizations that have applied for CFLE continuing education credit for their trainings and events and to other organizations that either directly or peripherally serve family practitioners or families. Promotion of the Summit provides a great opportunity to expand awareness of NCFR, FLE, and the CFLE credential. Additionally, we are providing sponsorship opportunities to help support the Summit and connect FLE practitioners with relevant resources and services.

Keynote Presentation

Kimmery Newsom, Ph.D., LCMFT, LMFT, CSATP, CFLE, will present the keynote presentation, Let’s Talk About It. How to Integrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Our Work with Families. Her presentation will outline how to have conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, (DEI) and difference. As Family Life Educators it is imperative that we learn how to facilitate and integrate these conversations into our work with families. Many of the families we encounter are impacted by issues of racism and discrimination, which affects how families function in society. It is our job to become allies and increase our awareness of how we can increase our collective knowledge of DEI.

Attend the 2023 FLE Virtual Summit and invite your practitioner colleagues to join you!

FLE Summit Task Force

The 2023 FLE Summit would not be possible without the guidance provided by the FLE Summit Task Force. They represent an excellent group of CFLEs who have their fingers on the pulse of the practice of Family Life Education. They have been instrumental in identifying a relevant theme and providing a focus for the Summit sessions. Additionally, their own experiences as FLE practitioners has been invaluable in shaping the tone of the Summit and ensuring that the theme and Call for Proposals were relevant and accessible to FLE practitioners.

2023 FLE Summit Task Force members:

Deb Berke

Mary Bold

Kyleigh Brown

Kaley de Leon

Chinatu Gladrich

Atasha Kelley-Harris

Elizabeth Ramsey

Yolanda Saunders

Karen Shirer

Becca Stackhouse

Barbara Sweeney

Cindy Wilson