NCFR Annual Conference Provides Opportunity for CFLE Business and Networking

Dawn Cassidy, M.Ed., CFLE, Director of Family Life Education
/ NCFR Report, Winter 2022

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The introduction of online meeting options like Zoom has made it easier to conduct NCFR business relevant to the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential and Academic Program Review (APR) . Despite the efficiency of online meetings, it was great to be able to meet once again face-to-face at the 2022 NCFR Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to working through meeting agendas, it provided a great opportunity for program volunteers to connect with each other and for NCFR to show appreciation to those that contribute to the success of the CFLE program.

The following paragraphs are a few highlights from the conference.

Members of the CFLE Advisory Board (led by Chair, Dorothy Berglund) and Academic Program Review committee (led by APR Liaison Claire Kimberly,) met to discuss issues relevant to each program. Claire also facilitated the APR Networking Session which provided a great opportunity for those interested in getting their Family Science program CFLE-approved and for CFLE contacts from CFLE-approved academic programs to compare notes and provide suggestions for enhancing the benefits of CFLE program approval.

Emily Vang, NCFR education and certification coordinator, and I presented the How to Become a CFLE session to a group of potential CFLEs. It is always exciting to see the interest and enthusiasm people have for the CFLE credential.

The CFLE reception is always a highlight of the conference for me. In addition to recognizing newly approved and renewed CFLE academic programs, we took time to acknowledge members of the CFLE Advisory Board, Academic Program Review Committee, and CFLE Exam Committee, as well as extend appreciation to those ending their terms. I am so appreciative of the CFLE Reception sponsors (see sidebar) whose support helps to make the CFLE Reception possible.

I was pleased to make a very special announcement during the CFLE Reception about the establishment of the Carol Darling Family Life Education Research Initiative Grant. It was fitting that this grant was announced at the CFLE reception given the significant contribution that Carol has made to the CFLE program over the years. She was a member of the original Standards Committee that created the CFLE program back in the 1980s, and she also served on the CFLE Review Committee, back when applications were submitted as part of a portfolio review process. Carol was also a member of the committee that created the first CFLE Exam, an original member of the CFLE Advisory Board, and a member of the Academic Program Review Committee. It is hard to think about where the CFLE program would be without Carol’s contributions.

The Carol Darling Family Life Education Research Initiative Grant is made possible through Carol’s personal financial contributions. It is designed to creatively contribute to the discipline of Family Science and specifically Family Life Education. It is a biannual grant that will be awarded for the first time in 2024. Stay tuned for more information in 2023!

The CFLE reception culminated with the announcement of the 2022 CFLE Special Recognition Award. Each year we recognize one or more Certified Family Life Educators who have made an impact on the CFLE program, whether through ongoing efforts or through involvement in a specific event or activity that has helped to increase awareness and understanding of the CFLE credential and the practice of Family Life Education. This year the CFLE Advisory Board chose to recognize two CFLEs, Dr. Betty Cooke and Dr. Glen Palm for their work in the development and promotion of ethical guidelines for the practice of parent and Family Life Education. 

Both Betty and Glen were active members of the Minnesota state affiliate chapter of NCFR (known as MCFR) for many years. In 1992, MCFR began exploring ethical thinking and practice for parent and family educators. This included gathering information from meetings, consultations, study, and discussion with ethics experts and family practitioners as well as the development of a case study process. The first booklet on ethical thinking and practice was published in 1998 and outlined a framework that incorporated principles, relational, and virtues ethics. The practice of ethics was approached through a group process that was developed through workshops with practitioners. One of the mantras of this work was that ethics is an active and evolving process, which has proven to be true. The MCFR and NCFR booklets documenting this work have been revised and updated several times. Most recently, the framework and process have been reviewed to provide a social and racial justice lens.

The ethical guidelines process has proven to be an invaluable tool and resource for Family Life Educators. The CFLE Code of Ethics is based upon the principles within these guidelines. The Tools for Ethical Thinking and Practice booklet has been used by thousands of students and practitioners to guide them in considering and acting upon ethical situations and dilemmas. Glen has contributed multiple articles to NCFR publications. Additionally, Betty and Glen have worked as mentors to consider ethical issues through a case study process in articles within the CFLE Network.

We are grateful to Betty and Glen, and all the people involved in the development of the ethical guidelines process for the invaluable contribution it has made to the practice of Family Life Education. It was a pleasure to recognize them with this award at the reception.

We look forward to continuing the work of the CFLE Advisory Board, Academic Program Review Committee, and the CFLE Exam Committee via online opportunities throughout the next year and to meet once again in person at the 2023 NCFR Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.