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Message from the President - Second Quarter 2018

In the past eight months, The Family Advocate Network Political Action Committee of New Jersey has experienced incredible growth and transformation. Leveraging this momentum and the recent extensive work conducted for the re-introduction of the current NJ Assembly and Senate Bills A-1091 and S273, FAN-PAC is now embarking on developing its next strategic plan that will map future directions and innovation to ensure our children have access to the full love, nurturing and support of both loving parents regardless of the structure of the family.

Our strategic thinking exercised this past quarter have brought a wealth of information to the organization on political effectiveness.  During our recent five-day strategic legislative Trenton event summit—June 11 through June 15–we worked to apply consensus building intelligence and gather insights from the legislation group to support the children and families in New Jersey transforming the Family Court System to better serve our New Jersey Communities.

Starting on day 1 of the year 2018, we looked to our history to remind ourselves how we have come to the place we are now and lessons learned along the way.  We saw how FAN-PAC NJ grew, adapted, expanded and developed over time and discussed the resilience of the institution.  We also took a deep dive into the data on the first day of the year, including reviewing our political agenda, a SWOT analysis on legislation and current policies, and family agencies and States data and self-recommendations from the recent successful NJ non-profits 501C-3 family support groups; such as FACE, Kids First, (Lisa group).  The legislative strategic analysis provided quantitative data to compare the prior legislation and other state passed or in progress legislation to FAN-PAC current initiatives, and to focus on trends locally, district wide, and statewide specific to family matters, that impact or have potential to impact our children and families in family courts.  The recent SWOT analysis, from more than 300 community members, provided qualitative insights into the community’s understanding of our internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities we see and threats we face in the transformation of laws in favor of our children in New Jersey.  

The ongoing process continued with more strategic thinking and planning exercises to identify the basic pillars of our strategic family laws transformation plan.  The challenges in transforming the New Jersey Family Courts are rooted in the firm commitment to our children as they are the foundational for the flourishing of the family cornerstone.

While our strategic development to grow and remain influential within the political arena is still being refined and analyzed, we are now ready to move into the plan and engage diversified number of professional groups in the collaboration of the making of suited policies through advocacy, education and inspiration.  FAN-PAC intends to influence policy, legislation and implementation of policy to accomplish this objective.  Our children are our most valuable natural resource whether from a traditional intact family or from a multi-home environment. 

At the present time we are determining to create pillars to our strategic focus to craft partnerships with a variety of organizations and other likely allies, and work with them to plan and hold symposium events. The first focus of this pillars place emphases on the changing landscape of how our professional communities in education and the legal forum impact our children’s future.  Another pillar will address the important mission to unite all of us in the College/University and public policies communities as we work within and beyond FAN-PAC to make a difference in the lives of children, families and communities. 

A third pillar open the dialogues with the challenges of fully integrating new policies into our current Family Court System designation; not only for the sake of changing the law itself, but because children separation from their parents during a divorce or separation impacts children success, and our communities at large have a responsibility to inform their legislative body to provides best interest standards that conform with the 21st century pragmatic way of life.  Finally, a fourth pillar recognizes that we need to create a nimbler and entrepreneurial policy to embrace change, align processes, and rid ourselves of the antiquated processes that do not add value to our children and families.  FAN-PAC is ready to stand supporting all of these pillars as they are foundational elements that move a plan from paper to live in the life of our children and communities.  The impact as a result– strategy, resources, alignment, and assessment to guide legislation will lead to FAN-PAC’s objective:  to raise awareness of the need to transform the family court regarding custody matters.  We also intend to provide a forum for our legislative partners to reach the younger demographic through interaction on these topics. 

Finally, I wish to thank the members, families and volunteers, and supporters of the FAN-PAC community, the Strategic Planning Leadership Team, the Legislative executive chair, the Financial Committee, and the community members who facilitated their endless efforts, and all members of our diverse community who provided donations, insights, and support.

Rafael Franco