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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 the premise upon which The Family Café 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 Family Café and its Annual Conference.

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. 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

Is there a registration fee to attend The Annual Family Cafe?

The Family Cafe does not charge a registration fee for individuals with disabilities, their family members or their caregivers. 

There is a $150 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

How many people volunteer to help out with the event?

For The 18th Annual Family Café, 352 individuals volunteered their services at no cost. These individuals played essential roles as room monitors, registration desk staff, and volunteers to fill the 8,000 bags to be handed out to attendees at registration.


Volunteers at The 18th Annual Family Café


Number of Volunteers


In-Kind Value of their  Service



The Family Café also provided an 8 hours of Leadership training called Road to Sustaining Your Organization to individuals. This leadership training helps to gain tools and resources to assist in understanding, responding, and offering support in the mental health arena. The relationship between accomplishment and knowledge stands the test of time.  One is dependent on the other for success.



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 19th Annual 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 20th Anniversary Family Café .

Does State funding pay for entertainment and food at The Annual Family Cafe?

No. All money from the State goes directly to appropriate costs, including financial support, audio visual support for presenters and keynote speakers, printing and conference materials. Entertainment is provided in-kind by corporate partners like WellCare as well as partner non-profits such as Pyramid, VSA Arts, FRIENDS Chorus and Special Kids Dance Academy.

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.  




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