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Now that AFCC-MN has celebrated its 5th Annual Conference and AFCC National has celebrated its 50th Annual Conference, I thought it a good time to provide a brief update.

Best Meetings, our Executive Administrator, has compiled our 2013 Annual Conference feedback.  Our four panels received an average of 84% in the “very good” and “excellent” response categories; our keynote speaker, Dr. David Holmes, received 86% in those categories, and the overall quality of the conference program received “very good” and “excellent” responses of 94%.  The conference met the expectations of 97% of attendees.  Thank you again to the Annual Conference planning committee AND to our sponsors!

33 AFCC-MN members attended the 50th Annual Conference in Los Angeles last month.  I attended the Chapter Council meeting held there, and learned that there are now 18 state (U.S.) and province (Canada) local chapters.  Australia was recently approved as the newest regional AFCC chapter member.  In terms of age, AFCC-MN is right in the middle – half being older than our chapter and half being newer.  However, in terms of membership, we are 4th with 218 members, exceeded only by the following:

–          California  (the oldest chapter at 32 years & 605 members)

–          Ontario  (5 years old & 409 members)

–          Florida  (12 years old & at 220 only 2 more members than Minnesota!)

While AFCC National Conferences are always a wealth of information, there were two items that I would like to pass on.  First, AFCC National partnered with Sesame Street to produce Little Children Big Challenges: Divorce.  The videos are viewable online on the AFCC National website and kits (which include the DVD, a guidebook for parents, and a children’s book) are available to AFCC members FREE!  The link is below:

Second, James Steyer, the CEO and Founder of Common Sense Media was the keynote speaker at AFCC’s 50th Annual Conference.  Part of his presentation included a video segment that included in rapid succession images of violence and sex that children are easily exposed to on the internet, and the impact that repeated exposure can have on brain development.  I cannot begin to describe the power of that video except that it was enough to want to pass it on to you.  I contacted Common Sense Media understanding that all of their materials are available to the public at no cost.  Unfortunately, this video is not yet available.  I will certainly pass it on if it does become available.  In the event anyone is interested in their other materials the website is:

Lastly, I received an email from Leslye Hunter at AFCC National today with an opportunity that I also wanted to pass on.  Shelly Mahon, an AFCC member from Colorado is doing her doctoral work at University of Wisconsin, Madison.  As part of her research she has developed an online program for separating/divorcing fathers, and has asked for AFCC’s help to obtaining participation in the program.  Shelly’s website is  Here is what she says:

Brief Description of my program:

Apart, Not Broken is a new online program designed to help dads adjust and parent after divorce or separation.  In collaboration with the University of Wisconsin – Madison, this program is part of my doctoral work.   I am currently recruiting fathers to participate in this program. Please distribute these promotional materials widely within your networks and connections.  Fathers who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of completion, a $25 Amazon gift card, and be entered to win an iPad!

Program Details:

Apart, Not Broken: Learn, Connect, & Create gives fathers a place to:

Learn: Hear fathers’ real experiences and insights. Have access to information and recommendations that can make a measurable difference in adjusting and parenting after separation or divorce.

Connect: Join on online community of fathers. Learn to use creative strategies to connect with your child and manage your relationship with your ex-partner.

Create:  Feel powerful in your ability to be the dad YOU want to be. Create the relationship YOU want with your child by building on your existing strengths, starting new traditions, and creating lasting memories.

This program is equipped with:

§  Videos reflecting the real life experiences of other divorced fathers;

§  A discussion forum for you to connect and share with other fathers;

§  Online tools for sharing photos, calendars, communicating & more;

§  Current and concise information about divorce & parenting after divorce;

§  Engaging activities for you to enjoy with your child; and

§  Additional resources for you to build your own parenting toolkit.

This innovative, multi-media program is:

§  Free: No Charge!

§  Confidential:  Private, online support education program

§  Efficient:  Brief, 12-week series of ~30 minute sessions

§  Flexible:  Spend as much time as you want on the aspects that fit your needs

§  Convenient:  Available 24/7, worldwide, anywhere with an Internet connection

§  Ongoing:  Starts when you register!

The registration site is

Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Mary Madden. President


Our President-Elect - New Developments

AFCC-MN Members, It is with both sadness and excitement that I share the following message with you all. Our President-Elect, Racheal Howitz, is stepping down from her position. Racheal is expecting a


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