Since 2003, the NCSL/AECF Partnership on Family Economic Success has held this yearly Forum to give lawmakers a chance to convene with their colleagues and discuss solutions to the challenges faced by low- to moderate-income families. Participants hear from leading experts and practitioners, who offer a look at some of the ways legislators can take the lead when it comes to helping families help themselves.
The meeting's format is geared towards problem solving. Each year, NCSL invites the leadership from 10 states to send small teams of legislators to the forum. Each state team meets between plenary sessions, designing an action plan that addresses some of the issues impacting low-income families in their home state with facilitation from NCSL staff.
Over the years, participants have overwhelmingly approved of the meeting's action-oriented format.
"I generally tend to avoid conferences because most are ineffective and time consuming, but this one was quick moving, informative and will lead to results," said one legislator who has attended multiple times.
"My colleagues and I returned from that meeting with a strong sense of purpose," said another from a state that consistently sends bipartisan teams - a goal of conference organizers.
This map shows the states that have attended the Family Opportunity Leadership Fourm (formerly known as the Opportunities for Working Families Leadership Forum) since 2003.
Click on the state to see their state action plan, participants and legislative actions resulting from the meeting.
States in light blue have attended the meeting, states in dark blue are featured states, and states in gray have not attended the meeting.
Source: NCSL, August 2016