April 26, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 15

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    Scholars, practitioners will focus on leading-edge family research at May conference

    By William Harms
    News Office

    Faculty of the School of Social Service Administration will join other nationally recognized scholars and practitioners to discuss leading- edge family research at the tenth-anniversary conference of the Council on Contemporary Families Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, at International House.

    “What Works for Today’s Families? And What Doesn’t? A Decade of Research, Practice, and Dialogue,” is the title of the conference organized by noted family historian Stephanie Coontz. Waldo Johnson Jr., Associate Professor in SSA and Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, is co-chair of the CCF along with Steven Mintz, professor in history at the University of Houston.

    Johnson will be a speaker at the conference, as will Froma Walsh, the Mose & Sylvia Firestone Professor in SSA and one of the CCF’s founding members. Johnson will discuss the topic, “Father Involvement: Lessons Learned but Unheard,” and Walsh will give a talk titled “Innovative Practice Applications of a Family Resilience Framework with Families in Crisis or Facing Prolonged Adversity.”

    The conference begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 4, and that evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m., a Tenth Anniversary Gala Evening Reception with Media Awards will feature commentator Al Franken as a special guest speaker.

    People may attend the conference and the gala by paying a registration fee at the door. The cost for students is $55, for Council on Contemporary Families members, $120, and for non-CCF members, $155. Tickets for the Gala Reception featuring Al Franken are $25.

    According to Johnson, the conference will look at the latest research and best practice findings about understanding and intervening effectively on family issues, such as promoting healthy relationships and responsible fatherhood, helping at-risk youth, providing social services and counseling to families under extreme stress, reducing domestic violence and developing effective family practices.

    The panels include a mix of practitioners and social scientists, with each panel’s members presenting information from a multicultural perspective.

    The following presentations will be made on Friday, May 4, beginning with “Programs to Promote Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood: Myths and Realities,” from 9 to 11 a.m.; and followed by “Vulnerable Youth and The Transition to Adulthood,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; “Working with Families under Stress: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?” from 2 to 3:30 p.m.; and “Domestic Violence: Defining the Problem and Intervening with People,” from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

    On Saturday, May 5, the following sessions are scheduled: “When Is a Fact a Fact? What Do We Know About Cause and Effect in Families?” from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and “Natural and Unnatural Disasters: Displacement and Trauma,” from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Breakout sessions on how to take advantage of media opportunities will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

    The conference is sponsored by SSA, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University’s International House and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.

    The CCF is an organization of family researchers, mental health and social work practitioners and clinicians. It is dedicated to enhancing the national conversation about what contemporary families need and how these needs can best be met.

    For more information on the conference and the council, please visit http://www.contemporaryfamilies.org or contact Irment Austin at (773) 702-8063.