By Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed., and Judge Michelle MorleyDear FLAFCC,
Five and a half years ago I reached out to your President Judge (Ret.) Sandy Karlan with an idea, which she permitted me to pitch to the FLAFCC Board after the annual membership meeting. With her support, the Board approved the creation of a Task Force to explore the possibility of creating a conflict resolution process for families struggling regarding the care and safety of an aging parent. My years at Family Court Services of the 11th Judicial Circuit had surely taught me that families do not age out of conflict, and it was disheartening that options for families with minor age children were not available for families as they grew older to help with discordant situations regarding an aging loved one.
Judge Michelle Morley was designated as my Co-Chair of the FLAFCC Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination We convened twenty statewide entities plus a well-credentialed Advisory Committee. Together we collaborated with the Association for Conflict Resolution Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination, comprised of twenty U.S. and Canadian organizations to develop Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination. Eldercaring Coordination was premised upon parenting coordination, a dispute resolution process for parents in high conflict regarding child-related issues.
In 2015, the Task Forces merged into the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. Florida initiated eight Circuits as Pilot Sites, and they have been serving to pave the way for easily replicable pilot sites throughout the U.S., in Canada, and abroad. Thanks to FLAFCC, Florida is serving as a model for a more compassionate and more effective resolution alternative for elders and their families in conflict, and even more important, we are helping to redefine the operational definition of family to include the multi-generations that can better support and improve the lives of even the youngest members of the family. Imagine a world where all children were able to model respectful and collaborative problem-solving and approach others in their communities with respect and tolerance! FLAFCC is a leader toward that path.
In this issue of your FLAFCC Newsletter we hope you read:
We also hope that you check out the EldercaringCoordinationFL.org website. We look forward to your feedback.
The Eldercaring Coordination Initiative has been fortunate to have the support of Judge Sandy Karlan and all of your presidents since Jack Mooring, Robert Merlin, Rose Patterson, Jill Sanders, and Debra Weaver, as well as your Board of Directors. We want to acknowledge you and FLAFCC membership for your confidence, your assistance, and your ongoing encouragement. Together we can improve the lives of Florida families, young and old!
FLAFCC Eldercaring Coordination Initiative Co-Chairs:
Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed., was President of FLAFCC in 2005 and AFCC in 2011-2015, and Co-Chair with Sue Bronson of the Association for Conflict Resolution Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination.
Judge Michelle Morley was an FLAFCC Board Member from 2008 through 2017 and in 2016 was appointed by Chief Justice Labarga to serve as both a Stakeholder and a Steering Committee Member of Florida's W.I.N.G.S. Project as well as the Judicial Management Committee's Guardianship Workgroup.