The National Family Child Care Conference is a special event for family child care providers across the United States to meet, network, and grow together. The conference provides an environment on unity in which many providers and advocates have met and became life-long friends. Providers share with us each year that they leave the conference re-energized and refocused to provide the highest quality of care for the children they work with. 

We've asked three providers, Debbie, Svitlana, and Mary to share their stories of attending the National Family Child Care Conference. Over the years, these three providers met and have become life-long friends who reconnect each year at the conference. They have supported each other as they became presenters at the conference, and this year, in Chicago, they presented a workshop together. 

We hope you enjoy their stories and that you join us in Orlando next summer!

Meet Debbie Grace

Meet Svitlana Uniyat

Meet Mary Beauregard

Meet Corinne Carr

MEET DEBBIE GRACE

                Since opening my child care home in September of 1978, I had looked everywhere for not just training, but for genuine help to grow professional in my life as a family child care provider. When I attended my first National Family Child Care Conference in 2000 in Reston, Virginia, I found what I had been looking for! During that conference in Reston, almost everyone I met was a family child care provider! It didn’t matter if I was in the hot tub, in the elevator at the hotel, or in the sessions at the conference center, there were hundreds of providers EVERYWHERE. It was the most amazing thing ever! And we talked and talked and talked...about our programs, our own families, our concerns, and our successes. Everyone had the same lives in common. Providers from all over the world had the same problems and concerns that I had in Indiana! I learned so much at my first conference. I was hooked. I determined to attend as often as I could. A cherry on top of the whole experience was an evening bus tour of Washington D.C., put together by NAFCC. That was my first time to visit our nation’s capital and it was fantastic.

                I’ve attended 12 National Family Child Care Conferences so far! Chicago 2018 will be my lucky 13th! I can tell you something awesome that I remember from each conference. Most of these locations are places I would not have ever chosen to visit, but each one has been a delightful experience with special memories I would never had experienced had I not attended the conferences in these cities. Since 2014, my husband has gone with me to each location and he’s had a ball. While I attend the conference, he explores the area, so when I get out of the last session of the day, he takes me on excursions to show me what he’s discovered. He attends the Tribute to Family Child Care Awards Ceremony with me too. We work together in our family child care home and it’s really special to share this experience with him.

                The conference in 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona was very special to me. I attended for the first time as an accredited provider. It was very exciting to me. I attended this conference alone. At the Tribute to Family Child Care, an awesome provider, Svitlana Uniyat, was announced as winner of the Provider of the Year Essay. After the event, I went to her and congratulated her. She was so kind and friendly. We talked and talked. We had so much in common. It was wonderful to make such a sweet friend! We became friends on Facebook and remain great friends to this day. We look forward to seeing each other at conference every year.

                At the Orlando conference in 2014, I met Mary Beauregard. We knew each other from the NAFCC Accredited Provider Facebook group, but it was wonderful to meet and make that connection in person. In Minneapolis in 2015, we met again and I introduced Mary to Svitlana. I presented a session and both attended. Svitlana also was presenting a session for the first time. I attended and really enjoyed her session. Mary’s husband travels with her, so for the past few years, my husband and I sit with them at the Tribute. Mary and I both have had our daughters working with us in our programs. We have both been providers a long time and have lots of similarities. We’ve talked on the phone and shared advice with each other many times. I feel a very kindred spirit with these terrific ladies. I’m very blessed to call them dear friends.

                I really can’t say enough about how the National Family Child Care Conferences have influenced me as a provider. I’ve attended inspiring keynotes and learned so much from the sessions I’ve attended. Each year the conference brings new focus, news about family child care in the political arena, and high-quality initiatives to reach for. Every year the networking is fantastic.

                Being a presenter is a great passion of mine. I’ve presented at many of the conferences that I’ve attended and just love it each time. It’s very special to share with other providers what I’ve learned in my years in the field. As I celebrate my 40th year as a family child care provider, I’m very excited to be a presenter at the 2018 conference in Chicago.

                The National Family Child Care Conference is the highlight of my summer. I encourage providers to find out for themselves the value and benefits of attending a conference. It’s a way to rekindle passion, restore energy, make wonderful friends, and bring a higher quality of care to the children and families that depend on us every day…and it is FUN!

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*NAFCC does not endorse any product of our advertisers or sponsors. We believe each provider is able to make the best decision of products and curriculum for their program and the children in their care.