Frequently Asked Questions
Registration for The Annual Family Café opens on February 14 every year. There are three ways to register.
First, you can register online. An item regarding registration will be posted to the home page when registration opens. You may also select Annual Family Café from the menu bar then click on the online registration link provided.
Registrations are also accepted by mail or fax. Hard copy registration brochures are generally available in January. Registration forms can be faxed to our office at (850) 224-4674. They may also be mailed to us at P.O. Box 15649, Tallahassee, Florida 32317-5649.
The sessions included in The Annual Family Café are selected by The Family Cafe Planning Committee. This group, which is composed of community partners and members of The Family Café Board of Directors, selects presentations for inclusion in The Annual Family Cafe from presentation proposals that The Family Cafe receives.
The Planning Committee does its best to put together a program that will benefit a wide range of people and provide information on a large number of topics. We are happy to consider proposals regarding any appropriate topic. If you know of anyone that may be willing to present at The Annual Family Café, please encourage them to submit a presentation! The Family Café can only choose from the proposals it receives, so we are relying on you to encourage qualified presenters to apply!
The Presenter Proposal from will be available in September, and the window for submission runs through December 31.
The Annual Family Café is an extremely cost-effective means to meet some of the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families in Florida.
The Annual Family Café provides a great deal of benefit at an extremely low cost. For example, The 25th Anniversary Family Café consisted of 25.5 hours of total training, information and instruction time; with 16.5 hours of that being direct training (actual session and keynote time). With 14,255 individuals in attendance, that means The Annual Family Café costs a scant $2.37 an hour for this training per individual.
A Great Value for Florida
Cost per hour per attendee
The Annual Family Café also provides a uniquely valuable outlet for State Agencies to meet their parent training and information dissemination objectives in their state contracts. Last year, 35 presentations were delivered by State of Florida employees. Additionally, several state agencies had tables in the Exhibit Hall, including the ABLE United, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration, multiple programs of both the Department of Education and the Department of Health, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Division of Blind Services, and CareerSource Florida.
Additionally, the Annual Family Café is a unique source of information and resources for approximately 11% of attendees that report being on a wait list for services from state agencies, including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The conference offers attendees the opportunity to collect accurate information about the availability and nature of state services from a number of agencies, and to develop strategies to meet their needs during the period between application for state services and actually beginning to receive them. Additionally, some 93% of individuals with disabilities live with their families. It therefore makes sense to provide information, training and resources on a family-by-family basis, so the natural supports an individual with a disability enjoys through their family can be leveraged to their benefit.
No. All money from the State of Florida goes directly to appropriate costs, including financial support, audio visual support for presenters and keynote speakers, and printing and conference materials. Entertainment is provided in-kind by corporate partners like WellCare, as well as partner non-profits such as Arts4All Florida, Brazilian Voices, Chance 2 Dance, FRIENDS Chorus, ProjectFREE, Pyramid Players and Pyramid Studios, Soul To Soul Yoga, Special Kids Dance Academy, and Synchrony Arts Production Company.
In all areas, The Family Café stringently adheres to state procurement rules, and follows the appropriate fiscal procedures set forth by participating State Agencies. Our organization is deeply committed to extracting the greatest possible value from every dollar in its budget, both public and private, for the sake of the families we serve.
The Family Cafe prides itself on its ability to connect event attendees with a wide range of products, services, and resources in our Exhibit Hall. You can view a list of exhibitors from The 25th Anniversary Family Cafe in the event program, which can be accessed through this link.
Exhibitor applications for The 26th Annual Family Cafe will be available in October. If you have any questions about becoming an exhibitor, please call us at (888) 309-2233 (CAFÉ) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your exhibit space will consist of a 10′ x 10′ booth space, with a skirted six foot table, two chairs, pipe and drape, signage, and electricity. Your payment also entitles you to two complimentary professional registrations for the event.
Your organization will receive exposure to over 10,000 individuals with disabilities and their family members from communities throughout Florida, all gathered in a single location for three days. There is no better way to increase your organization’s profile and reach this valuable market than coming to The Annual Family Cafe!
In addition to the opportunity to directly contact attendees in the Exhibit Hall, your organization’s information will also be listed in our conference program and the event smartphone app, ensuring that attendees will be able to reach you for follow-up conversations after the event.
For The 25th Anniversary Family Café, 65% of registrants requested financial assistance in the form of complimentary accommodation, 35% did not request financial assistance.
Financial Supports and Services
Number Requesting Support
Number Receiving Support
Multiple families also receive independent financial support from outside sources they have located on their own initiative, such as local school districts, support groups and religious organizations.
Initially, it may seem strange that state funds would be used to provide accommodation for families. Given the premise upon which The Family Cafe was founded, however, it makes perfect sense.
Simply put, we believe that educated, empowered families make the best possible choices for themselves and their members with disabilities. In order to become educated and empowered, they require knowledge, training, and networking, all of which are provided by The Annual Family Cafe.
For persons with disabilities, the primary resource in any given situation will be the immediate family. Over 90% of individuals with disabilities live with their families. According to well-substantiated studies, in-home supports are often preferable to other solutions, such as residential placement. Given that fact, it becomes imperative to provide information, training, and resources to families so they may meet the needs of their own members with disabilities themselves.
Although Florida provides a significant amount of pre-service and in-service training for professionals working with individuals with disabilities, there are limited opportunities for parents and family/guardian caregivers. If the State of Florida supports the training and education of its employees that serve persons with disabilities, does it not make sense to support the training and education of families that meet those needs within their own homes? Doing so ultimately provides greater benefit at lower cost, while developing educated consumers better able to navigate the service delivery system.
The Family Cafe does not charge a registration fee for individuals with disabiliites or their family members/caregivers.
There is a $200 registration fee for all professional attendees. Generally speaking, professionals that are also individuals with disabilities or family members are not required to pay the registration fee.
If you are unsure of your status, please contact our office for further clarification. We can be reached by E-Mail at email@example.com or by phone at (850) 224-4670
In a typical year, over 250 volunteers give their time to help the event run smoothly. Their willingness to help out makes all the difference in the success of The Annual Family Cafe!
Volunteers fill a number of important roles, including helping to assemble materials for fellow attendees at Bag Stuffing on the Thursday evening before the event; working at the Registration Desk to help attendees get their name badges and materials; and serving as Room Monitors to help direct attendees to the sessions they’re looking for.
If you’re interested in volunteering, please make sure to check the appropriate box on the form when you register!
There are two compelling reasons to hold The Annual Family Cafe in Orlando: geography and capacity.
Florida is a large state, with a Panhandle on one end and a chain of Keys on the other, some 15 hours apart by car. The Annual Family Cafe attracts families from every county in the state. To give everyone a reasonable opportunity to attend, The Family Café has decided to place its event in Orlando, the most geographically central city in Florida.
Fortunately, Orlando also offers a unique level of capacity. Despite the event’s remarkable growth over the years, it has yet to outgrow the hospitality resources in the Orlando area. No other city in Florida can offer a similar degree of large hotel and conference centers at competitive rates.
The 25th Anniversary Family Café was held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. This wonderful location was able to house the event, while offering a rate of $129 per night, approximately two-thirds of the regular rate for an equivalent room.
The Family Café is proud of its ability to host its event in such an excellent location, as such a reasonable cost to the State of Florida. The organization looks forward to extracting similar value by again being at the Hyatt Regency Orlando for the 26th Annual Family Café.