The Annual Family Café, Sponsored by Children's Medical Services Health Plan, Creates a Nurturing Environment for People with Disabilities to Learn, Network, and Grow

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:08 AM CDT

ORLANDO, Fla., May 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Family Café is excited to return to its entirely in-person event at The 24th Annual Family Café in Orlando this year. This event brings together Floridians with disabilities to learn about resources and supports available to them while also giving them a chance to network with one another and meet the organizations that serve them.

The May 27-29 event at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, sponsored by the Children's Medical Services (CMS) Health Plan, will feature high profile advocates for the disability community — like the stars of the Amazon Prime series "As We See It." Nearly 200 educational sessions on topics ranging from advocacy and financial planning to employment and assistive technology, a full exhibit hall with an array of agencies and vendors, adaptive recreation activities, self-advocate performances, networking opportunities for people with disabilities and their families, and more.

"Floridians with disabilities need the right resources and support to thrive in their communities. The Annual Family Café is a place where they can come together with the whole disability community to share experiences and figure out what solutions are right for them," said President and CEO of The Family Café, Lori Fahey. "Hosting the event is a genuine community effort. Having a partner like the Children's Medical Services Health Plan that understands the value of empowering families is essential to making it a success."

"The Annual Family Café brings together people with disabilities and their families, so they know they aren't alone," said Dr. Robert Karch, Deputy Secretary for Children's Medical Services at the Florida Department of Health. "Not only does it allow them to learn more about resources and supports available to them, but it also gives them a chance to meet other families facing the same obstacles and have a good time. These speakers are fun, the room is interactive, and this isn't some stuffy conference. It's important for the attendees and just as important for those who serve them to have in-person interaction."

CMS will present "Old MacDonald's Sensory Farm," one of the conference's most popular activities. The sensory room is outfitted with equipment to help special-needs young people get personalized sensory input, allowing them to decompress and balance their sensory experiences. It is named after Centene Senior Vice President Gregg MacDonald, who has supported The Family Café for many years. Centene is Sunshine Health's parent company.

"We're honored to support this room because it helps kids with a wide range of disabilities feel comfortable and empowered. Our hope is it will provide an accessible, enjoyable environment for children with a wide range of sensory needs to relax and regulate. Families may learn a regulation technique or two they can take home and continue," said MacDonald.

CMS Health Plan will have an information booth where employees will provide more information about the plan's benefits for Florida children with complex health needs. They'll also have a photo booth and face painting for all Annual Family Café participants.

All people with disabilities, their families, and advocates are welcome, and there is no registration fee to attend. For more information and to register, visit


The Children's Medical Services Health Plan (CMS), operated by Sunshine Health on behalf of the Florida Department of Health, covers Florida children up to age 21 with physical, developmental, behavioral, and emotional conditions through Medicaid (Title XIX) as well as those who enroll through KidCare (Title XXI). Learn more at

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SOURCE Sunshine Health

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