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The National Federation of Families is the nationwide advocacy organization with families as its sole focus, playing an important role in helping parents, caregivers, and families of children—of any age—whose lives are impacted by mental health and substance use challenges. This important work is supported largely by generous sponsors, supporters, and donors like you who contribute to our cause. Additionally, the National Federation of Families (NFF) provides the only National Certification for Family Peer Specialists™ (CFPS). 


For the last 35 years, the NFF has brought families, parents, community leaders, providers, partners, and legislators together at our Annual Conference where we work to leverage our lived experience and learned solutions for the support and advancement of families impacted by mental health and/or substance use challenges during the lifetime of their children. 


To accomplish this, we welcome a diverse array of voices of those with lived experience for attendees to learn from and alongside.  


The 2023 conference, held in Chicago, IL, offered more than 90 great workshops featuring speakers representing 84 organizations from across the nation and Canada. Attendees included 629 mental health and substance use prevention advocates and professionals working to support, educate, and empower families!

#Accept, Advocate, Act

Tracks for the 2024 Conference 


Justice / Equity / Diversity / Inclusion - JEDI

The principles of JEDI, with an emphasis on families and their children, will be the focus of this track. Topics will include approaches to effectively advocate for equity, inclusion, and parity in child, family, and adult systems. This track will also include presentations that center on social justice issues—equitable rights, equitable access, equitable opportunity, equitable treatment—in organizational missions and the work they do to support families.


Supporting Families and their Children Through the Lifespan 

Topics include family engagement, navigating systems, developing authentic partnerships between families and providers, and the importance of understanding and accepting individuals who experience mental health and/or substance use challenges in all settings—homes, schools, community environments, the justice system, health care, research.


Supporting families with Co-occurring Concerns  

Proposals should address evidence-based, practice-based, and community relevant topics that help families, the workforce that supports families and their children, family-run organizations, and communities understand, discuss, address, and prevent intersecting mental health and substance use challenges.


Lessons from the Field  

Presentations will highlight strategies and practices that are proving successful in supporting, educating, and engaging families and their children of all ages. Innovations, collaborations, and lessons learned will inform participants.


Emerging Youth and Young Adult Leaders / Youth Workforce Development 

Designing pathways for developing leadership skills and qualities in the next generation are essential. This can include programs, organizations, policies, and/or strategies that center youth voice, integrate and support youth as leaders, and promote sustainability by mentoring youth to take the reins on advocacy work. Presentations demonstrating Youth and Family Peers working in partnership to support families are particularly encouraged.


Workforce Development 

The focus of this track is the creation of a strong, healthy, and sustainable workforce to support families and their children. Presentations about career development within the Family Peer Workforce, peer drift, strategies for organizational wellness and sustainability, mentorship, and collaboration with partnering organizations and agencies will be prioritized. 


National Core Competencies  

Additionally, we are asking that each presenter indicate which of the National Core Competencies for Certified Family Peer Specialists that their presentation addresses and that will be indicated in the agenda for each session. 

  • Wellness and Resiliency 

  • Effecting Change  

  • Resources and Natural Supports  

  • Systems Knowledge and Navigation 

  • Professional Responsibilities 

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