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President's Letter (June 2018)

Categories: Letter from the FLAFCC President,

Dear FLAFCC members and friends:

Hello from your President and Board.

At our annual Membership meeting and Board meeting in December, we had four members complete their terms or leave the Board and three new members elected. We were sad to see The Honorable Ariana Orshan Fajardo, The Honorable Jon Johnson, The Honorable Michele Morley, and Rose Patterson of OSCA leave the Board. We are so grateful for their contributions to FLAFCC and know they will continue to support FLAFCC and its mission.

We welcomed our new Board members Maria Gonzalez, Esq., Yueh-Mei Kim Nutter, Esq. and General Magistrate Amanda Wall who have been hard at work. These new members showed a great deal of enthusiasm and innovative ideas during our planning session exploring future activities of FLAFCC. We are very fortunate to have an enthusiastic and hard-working Board who are all ready at work on various committees, projects, and tasks.

2018 has already been and is expected to continue to be a busy year for FLAFCC. We plan to host several regional trainings on various topics at sites across the State. Our 14th Annual Conference (no not ground hog day! It's still 14th since last year's conference was cancelled) will be held September 26 through 28, 2018. The main conference will be September 27 & 28 with the afternoon of September 26 providing pre-conference tracks that will provide specific information on topics relevant to the various professional groups that comprise FLAFCC (mental health providers, Judges, lawyers, mediators, and financial professionals).

The conference will again be held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, FL. FLAFCC will once again partner with the Office of the State Courts Administration (OSCA) to present this high-level training event. Our 2018 conference chair, Sheba Katz, Ph.D. and our planning committee, have been working hard to make preparations around this year's conference theme: Open Minds: Diverse Services for Diverse Families. Additional information is available on our website at www.flafcc.org.

While historically our members have been and continue to be one of our most valuable sources of presenters for our conferences, this year we are pleased to not only draw from our pool of talented members but also have additional stellar speakers. As always, the conference will give you excellent practical information for your practice as well as the opportunity to network with some of the brightest and best in their fields in the various professional areas that help Florida's families as they are involved in our courts while they are in crisis.

This year's conference theme is consistent with the ongoing efforts of FLAFCC to explore and support the implementation of alternative dispute resolution tactics in order to provide less adversarial alternatives to family disputes. Additionally, our organization recognizes that the increasing diversity of the populations we serve is requiring adjustments to the way we all help the families with whom we work. This diversity ranges across ages, ethnicities, family systems, legal systems, etc. Because we all work in an ever-changing landscape, we know that this year's conference will help us all set and maintain the highest standards of the services we provide.
In addition to our efforts to provide quality training opportunities, we hope to expand our web page, offer webinars, and other members-only content to show our gratitude to our loyal members.

One significant focus of our planning session was on the sustainability of our organization by increasing our membership. While there are many fine professional organizations available to provide offerings to our members, we feel that both the AFCC and our Florida Chapter provide unique information because of the combination of our member-professionals in the Court System, the local and state Bar Associations, Mental Health providers, Mediators, as well as CPA's and other financial providers. All of these professionals are necessary for providing a quality outcome for the families we serve. The Board discussed a variety of excellent ideas and will prioritize them in upcoming meetings. There are excellent opportunities for participation by our members on committees, to assist with regional trainings, and to recruit colleagues at a local level to FLAFCC. Please do not hesitate to contact me, or any Board member, if you would like to be more involved in your Florida chapter.

I also want you to join our excitement about the successes of several of FLAFCC's special projects. The Honorable Michelle Morley and Linda Fieldstone have spent several years spearheading the Elder Care Coordination (EC) project. They brought this project forward from inception to implementation over the last several years. To date, EC coordination has been piloted in 8 judicial circuits for 28 months. Judge Morley and Ms. Fieldstone will be presenting a workshop at the International Federation of Ageing's Global Conference in Toronto in August and have been invited to present a training on Elder Care Coordination for the United Nations. A large managed care entity for Medicare and Medicaid has provided funds to support their qualified team members in providing services. The Medicaid entity will support their eligible members in obtaining services recognizing that stress has serious physical health consequences.

We are seeing the building of energy for our new project that is taking off headed by Robert Merlin, Esq. and the Honorable Sandra Karlan, ret. Based on recommendations from the Florida Supreme Court, we created The FLAFCC Task Force on Family Court Intake: Coordinating A Comprehensive System For Florida Family Courts to develop an intake process that will provide information, make referrals to legal or social services, and assist self-represented litigants with the various services that are available when they first encounter the court system and attempt to navigate their way through its complexities. Volunteers ready to roll up their sleeves are welcome.

Finally, please check out our website at www.flafcc.org for ongoing updates, additional information, to update your membership, and for new additions. If you have any suggestions for projects or want to join a committee, please send those to me or a member of our Board. We are excited about how this year has been progressing and we look forward to seeing each of you at the annual conference in September!

Best Regards,

Debra A Weaver, PhD.

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