Family Re-Union 13 to focus on families, faith and foster care; Free conference set for Oct. 18 at downtown Nashville Public Library

Families, faith and foster care are the focus of the 13th annual Family Re-Union conference, set for Oct. 18 at the downtown Nashville Public Library, located at 615 Church Street.

The event is free and open to the public; space is limited and registration is required prior to October 18th. To register, go to On-site registration the day of the conference begins at 9:30 a.m. The conference will last from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Refreshments and lunch will be provided free of charge to registered participants.

“This conference will focus on how communities of faith can help meet the needs of the over 10,000 children in Tennessee who are in or have been in foster care,” Debbie Miller, director of the Vanderbilt Child and Family Policy Center and one of the conference organizers, said. “These children need more than just safety, they need supportive families and caring adults, whether it is a birth family receiving the supports needed to care for the children; a relative who can give protection and love, as well as a connection to family; or an adoptive family willing to make a lifetime commitment.”

Participating speakers include Rev. Clifford Barnett of Virginia One Church, One Child; Mary Bissel, Childfocus; Rev. Dr. Renita Weems, founder of Something Within; Abdelghani Barre, Nashville Immigrant Services; Matt Rosen, Children’s Defense Fund; and Elizabeth Black, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Panel and presentation topics include:

  • What’s love got to do with it? – The role of the faith community in permanency, opening doors and general support
  • Children’s Sabbath presentation – How and why to do this
  • Working in partnerships for foster youth – the “how to” of making public/private/faith partnerships work

A complete agenda is available on the conference website:

The event is sponsored by the Vanderbilt Child and Family Policy Center, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Nashville Mayor’s Office of Children & Youth.

Family Re-Union is a series of annual conferences founded by former Vice President Al Gore and Tipper Gore that bring together families, and those who work with them, to discuss and design better ways to strengthen family life in America. For the past 12 years, Family Re-Union has explored a different topic of critical importance to families.

Dress is business casual. For more information, call the Family Re-Union Conference office at (615) 343-0779 or email

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

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