Why do families receive financial supports and services?
Initially, it may seem strange that state funds would be used to provide accommodation for families. Given teh 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 famly. 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 disabilties, 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.
Does The Family Café have corporate support?
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 WellCare.
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.
Why is The Annual Family Cafe held in Orlando?
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 20th Anniversary Family Café was held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. This wonderful location was able to house the event, while offering a rate of $119 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 21st Annual Family Café.