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Is the Annual Conference a good value for the State of Florida?

Yes! The Annual Family Café provides a great deal of benefit at an extremely low cost. For example, The 19th 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 10,398 individuals in attendance, and a total cost of $465,768 that means The Annual Family Café costs a scant $1.09 an hour for this training per individual.


A Great Value for Florida


Training Hours


2017 Attendees


Conference Cost


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, 54 presentations, approximately 26% of the total number, were delivered by State of Florida employees.  Additionally, several state agencies had tables in the Exhibit Hall, including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Education and the Department of Health Children's Medical Services, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Division of Emergency Management, the Division of Blind Services, ABLE Unitied and CareerSource Florida.

Additionally, the Annual Family Café is a unique source of information and resources for approximately 27% of attendees that report being on a waitlist 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 90% 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. 

What does my organization receive by being an exhibitor at the annual conference?

Your organization will recieve 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.


How many families receive financial supports and services?

For The 18th Annual Family Café, 860 families received financial supports and services in the form of complimentary accommodation. The cost to send a family to the conference was only approximately $238 per family.


Financial Supports and Services


Number Requesting Support

7,407 families

Number Receiving Support

 860 families

Cost per Family



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.

How do I register for The Annual Family Cafe?

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.

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

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