Frequently Asked Questions

No experience is necessary to become a Family Café Delegate. If you are eager to become more involved in your community, we are eager to help you!

Please contact Lori Fahey at lfahey@familycafe.net or 1-888-309-2233 (CAFE) for more information.

The sessions included in The Annual Family Café are selected by The Family Cafe Planning Committee. This group, which is composed of community partners, The Family Café Delegates, and members of The Family Café Board of Directors, selects presentations for inclusion in The Annual Family Cafe from presentation proposals that are submitted in the fall.

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 proposal through The Family Café website, www.FamilyCafe.net. The Family Café can only choose from the proposals it receives, so we are relying on you to encourage qualified presenters to apply!

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 22nd Annual Family Cafe in the event program, which can be accessed through this link. Exhibitor applications for The 22nd 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 info@familycafe.net.

The Family Cafe Delegates are a network of volunteers and community leaders from all areas of Florida. They help disseminate information about available supports and services, and connect The Family Cafe with local communities throughout the state.

To learn more about The Family Cafe Delegates, including how to apply, contact info@familycafe.net.

Yes! The Annual Family Café provides a great deal of benefit at an extremely low cost. For example, The 21st Annual Family Café consisted of 25.5 hours of total training/information/instruction time, with 17.75 hours of that being direct training (actual session and keynote time). With 12,842 individuals in attendance, and a total cost of $575,000 that means The Annual Family Café costs a scant $1.72 an hour for this training per individual.

A Great Value for Florida

Training Hours

25.5

2019 Attendees

12,842

Conference Cost

$575,000

Cost per hour per attendee

$1.72

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, 39 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, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health (Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention, CMS Early Steps, and Division of Emergency Preparedness and Community Support Bureau of Preparedness and Response), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Division of Blind Services, Volunteer Florida and CareerSource Florida.

Additionally, the Annual Family Café is a unique source of information and resources for approximately 29% 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. 

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 21st Annual Family Café, 832 families received financial supports and services in the form of complimentary accommodation. That number represents 46% of applicants

Financial Supports and Services

Number Requesting Support

1,800 families

Number Receiving Support

 823 families

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.

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 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 info@familycafe.net or by phone at (850) 224-4670

For The 21st Annual Family Café, 348 individuals volunteered their services at no cost. These individuals played essential roles as room monitors, registration desk staff, and volunteers to fill the bags to be handed out to attendees at registration.

 Volunteers at The 21st Annual Family Café

Number of Volunteers

348

In-Kind Value of their Service

$219,099

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.  

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.

Yes. The Family Café has made a concerted effort over the course of its existence to locate sources of financial support in the business community. Corporate partners have included Amerigroup, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Delmarva Foundation, the Florida Association of Broadcasters, Florida KidCare, Independence Technology, a Johnson & Johnson Company, McDonald Training Center, Inc., The Mentor Network, Miami Children’s Hospital, Publix Super Markets Charities, SeaWorld, the Wachovia Foundation, Walt Disney World Resorts, United Health Care, Enterprize Holding Foundation, AT&T and Sunshine Health.

Our small staff is working every day to increase that number for next year’s event. The Family Café will continue to cultivate relationships with corporate partners in an effort to increase the proportion of private support, as well as the level of awareness in regards to the needs of persons with disabilities in the corporate world.

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 21st 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 23rd Annual Family Café.

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