The Vice President believes that, for far too long, we have created programs designed to address the pathology of individuals, or the needs of the bureaucracy that serves them. He believes that, instead, we need to find ways that we can understand the needs of whole families and communities and build on their strengths.
The Family Re-Union initiative seeks to "reinvent" family policy so that it reflects the realities facing families and government. The Vice President and Mrs. Gore moderate annual Family Re-Union conferences to give policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels a chance to learn from the experience of families and those who work with them.
Each conference brings together 1,000 individuals on site and thousands more at remote satellite sites; in that way, it creates a national conversation on a topic of importance to families. Each conference results from a year-long planning process that brings together experts and academics in the field along with program leaders and individual family members. They engage in a dialogue with each other, the sponsors, and the Vice President, raising crucial programmatic and policy issues that become the core of the conference.
Perhaps the most significant
outcome of each conference is the ongoing partnerships created between
organizations and individuals in each field that have built momentum behind
new ways of addressing longstanding issues. Conference topics have included
strengthening the role of fathers in children's lives, the impact of the
media culture on children, the delicate balance between work and family,
family involvement in education, and family-centered health care.
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