Farewell from your 2018 President Debra Weaver:
My term as president came to a close on December 15 at the annual membership meeting and Board of Directors meeting. I want to thank you all for your support throughout the year. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to be the president of such a prestigious organization. I had a wonderful Board to work with and look forward to this year, serving as Immediate Past President and conference co-chair.
2018 was a memorable year for FLAFCC some of our highlights this past year include:
- Annual conference. This year's theme Open Minds: Diverse Services for Diverse Families captured what we do every day. FLAFCC again partnered with OSCA to put on an excellent conference, meeting the mutual needs of both groups. FLAFCC has always been forward-thinking-- seeking best practices, forwarding research and legislation, to improve the family law experience for FL residents and to provide state-of-the-art research information and best-practice models for our membership.
Pre-conference tracks. We introduced half-day tracks focused on meeting continuing education needs of the various disciplines represented in our membership. These tracks were very well attended, received very positive feedback, and generated income for our organization. The success of these tracks will ensure their presence in future conferences.
Conference content. the conference provided a wide variety of content with the aim of providing information that is directly applicable in the attendee's profession. There were also a significant number of first-time presenters. As a result, information was on cutting-edge topics, providing up-to-date information, and new perspectives. There were also a number of return presenters with up-to-date information on a variety of relevant topics. It was nice to hear attendees complaining that they could not attend all of the workshops they wanted to!!!
Attendance-the 2018 conference was very well attended exceeding previous conferences. It was great to see familiar faces and add to our membership. The conference also generated additional income for FLAFCC, making future conferences possible.
- FLAFCC Sponsored Initiatives. FLAFCC and a number of its members have been instrumental in advancing best practice models and new legislation. Two current initiatives are in full swing.
Eldercaring Coordination (EC) has continued to grow and increase awareness of EC throughout 2018 under the leadership of the Honorable Michelle Morley and Linda Fieldstone. Here are a few of EC's highlights: 1. EC received a grant from the American Arbitration Association to recruit new pilot sites, for training new coordinators, and to develop video education. 2. Staywell/Well Care (the largest Medicare/Medicaid Health Care provider in FL contributed grant funds designed to assist their families with financial needs in accessing these vital services. 3. EC has established themselves as, not only a statewide initiative, but a national and international one as well. OH and ID are rolling our EC sites throughout their states; CA, MD, and Toronto are all pending Pilot Sites. 4. Internationally, EC was highlighted at the International Symposium on Innovations with Children and Families in Montreal, at the United Nations at the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and made presentation and conducted a workshop at the International Federation on Ageing Global Conference in Toronto. 5. The ABA Commission of Law and Aging published a new legislative fact sheet that included EC as an option for families in discord. 6. The ABA National Conference on Aging and the Law featured plenary session on EC in coordination with researchers from Va. Tech. and 7. The Australian Mediation Conference in including a workshop on EC in their April 2019 conference.
Congratulations to EC for outstanding accomplishments last year!!
The Family Law Intake Revision Project is underway. This initiative is led by the Honorable Sandra Karlan, (ret) and Robert Merlin, JD. They had hoped for a kick-off at the 2017 conference, but hurricane Maria caused that conference to be cancelled. So, they continued work and had their kick-off at the 2018 conference! With the approval and support of the FL Supreme Court Committee on Children and Families in the Court and in compliance with recommendations in the FL Supreme Court's Model Family Court opinion (2001), FLAFCC created a Task Force on Family Court Intake. The mission of this task force is to create an intake process to provide information, make referrals to legal or social services, and assist self-represented litigants, with services available whether or not the person files a lawsuit and without regard to income. The co-chairs have assembled various stakeholders to consider the necessary elements to create an updated intake system for families that could be implemented throughout FL.
In closing, FLAFCC has had a memorable 2018, but there is plenty to look forward to in 2019. Join me, as I say farewell, in wishing our new president, Craig Fabrikant, and our Board of Directors a productive and successful 2019.
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