It was an amazing experience attending this year’s AFCC conference in Chicago. This has been my 5th consecutive AFCC Annual conference to date, including last year’s on-line only. My first AFCC conference was in Boston in 2017 and since then I have been hooked. The appeal of the conference was a group of over 1100 professionals from around the globe that shared our very own Kids First values.
The AFCC describes itself as the premier interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict. AFCC members are the leading practitioners, researchers, teachers, and policymakers in the family court arena. What made this year’s conference especially joyous was to share the experience with Susan and Tim. It was such a bonus to go with some familiar faces and having some companionship to explore downtown Chicago. Our meal at the Eataly was definitely the culinary highlight!
The theme of this years’ conference was the “Use, Misuse and Abuse of Technology in Family Law,” and there were many informative sessions on how to make the best use of technology while mitigating risk and we were introduced to new technology designed to make Legal Services more available and accessible. Additionally, I attended break-out sessions on “Refuse Resist Dynamics in the Adolescent Brain,” “Trauma’s Impact on Children, Parents and the Courts.” “Online Screening and Mediation for Cases with High levels of Domestic Violence” and “Negotiation Theory in Mediation Practice,” to name just a few.
Going to a conference such as the AFCC annual conference each year is always time and money well spent. Meeting professionals with the passion we share is both validating and invigorating. As a member of our Kids First community, it makes me feel especially proud of the work that we do. When I compare the content of the First Step Program to what they are teaching at this conference, I know that we are current with the latest research, much more sensitive to inclusion than most, and we manage the complexities of intimate partner violence as well as anyone.
I will close this article with my favorite quote from the Conference, which I have already used at least a dozen times with co-parents that I work with: “It’s not about being right…it’s about getting it right.”
For all those interested, let’s start the planning to attend the next year’s AFCC Annual conference on May 31, 2023.
Jeffrey S. Levy, LCSW, GAL, is a program facilitator at Kids First with a private practice as a counselor, Guardian ad Litem, Collaborative Divorce Coach and Co-Parenting Couch and Consultant.
“I learned how important our behavior (verbal and non-verbal) is, and how it impacts our children. How I can rise above all issues, and just focus on my babies.”
“What I learned was that the best thing I can do for my kids is to say something good about their other parent!”
“I appreciated the focus on how many different relationships my/our kids are dealing with.”
“I learned I am in control of my behavior; I can’t control my co-parent!”
“I received validation; it helped to know that I’m not alone. I appreciated the section on preparing for court – that is coming up soon and I am scared.”