August 16, 2012

Announcement about Family Voices Conference

Family Voices Board President, Ruth Walden   ·  

To the Family Voices Network:


Dear Friends,

I am writing to update you on the planning for Family Voices' next conference. Like you, Family Voices believes an engaging, face-to-face experience has significant value.  At the same time, due to factors beyond our immediate control, Family Voices will defer our bi-annual conference (originally scheduled for spring of 2013).  We are not canceling the conference - just deferring it.  We are hoping the timing will be right to offer the conference in the fall of 2013 or soon thereafter.  In the meantime, we're looking into alternatives for maintaining the connections within the Family Voices network through possible regional get-togethers, social media linkages, and teleconferencing. We welcome any thoughts you might have on the best ways for all of us to stay connected as funding is reorganized.

We will not hold the conference in the spring of 2013 for two reasons:

First: In the past we have coordinated the conference to coincide with the annual grantees meeting of the Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) which takes place as part of their federal mandate. Family leaders from the Family Voices State Affiliate Organizations (SAOs) and Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) have been a critical mass at the conference. Currently funding for the F2F HICs is going through a new appropriations process, and it's not yet clear whether the funding for the annual grantees meeting will be available in the spring of 2013.  With reduced travel budgets in many programs and uncertain F2F attendance due to funding, we thought it best to wait. Additionally, if we offered a conference at that time, it might not best serve the needs of the F2F HICs, or help them meet their federal requirements.

Second: Like most nonprofit organizations, Family Voices is experiencing funding cuts. The conference takes a great deal of staff time and organizational resources to coordinate. Family Voices wants to focus this staff time and resource on our programs and on efforts to raise complementary funding so we can continue serving the SAOs and F2F HICs as well as all of our stakeholders.

Technical support to the organizations that assist families of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities continues to be critical. We believe our services and work are valuable and hope that you share that belief.  If you are able to contribute financially to Family Voices' work, please visit: http://www.familyvoices.org/action to donate.  Your ongoing support means a lot!

If you have suggestions for collaborations aligned with the Family Voices mission that would help raise funds for our work, please contact our Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives, Melanie Rubin, 505-872-4777, mrubin@familyvoices.org .

With appreciation for all your work,

Ruth Walden
President, Family Voices Board of Directors