Frequently Asked Questions Scienctific Evidence Seal of Approval Theoretical Model History
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Children, Youth and Family Consortium

Family Life 1st is a group of citizens building a community where family life is an honored and celebrated priority. The democratic theory underlying this work is that families can only be a seedbed for current and future citizens if they achieve a balance between internal bonds and external activities. This balance has become gravely out of wack for many families of all social classes, and retrieving family life requires a public, grass roots movement generated and sustained by families themselves.

Within this vision of strong, balanced families flourishing in a vibrant democratic community, the goal of the Family Life 1st Seal of Approval is to reorient the relationship between families and the groups that schedule outside activities of family members. These groups include sports, religious, and fine arts programs, and other activities. The Seal of Approval was developed to counteract the erosion of family time and overly-competitive world. The Seal will be awarded to groups and organizations with a demonstrated commitment to supporting family life while providing enriching opportunities for individuals. Here are the six criteria for the Seal of Approval followed by a statement about families' own responsibilities to the activity programs they sign up for.




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Criteria For the Seal of Approval

  • Balanced priorities: A written statement affirms that other life priorities, particularly family relationships, come first in participants’ lives.
  • Clear expectations: All time and financial expectations for participants and families are made clear in advance and in writing.
  • Family-friendly scheduling: Scheduling is done with families’ needs and schedules in mind. Whenever possible, events are scheduled so as to not interfere with family dinners, holidays, and religious participation.
  • Family decisions honored: In written policy and in practice, decisions by participants and families to prioritize family activities are fully accepted, with no penalties or recriminations.
  • Religious commitments honored: Children and youth are not arbitrarily denied participation in an activity if their family limits their involvement because of religious commitments.
  • Parents have a common voice: Parents have the opportunity to meet with one another to give group feedback to program leaders about scheduling and costs, to evaluate how well the program’s values about family life are being enacted, and to make recommendations for future years
Families Have Responsibilities Too Reorienting the relationship between families and outside groups and programs will require effort, good will, and mutual respect among all parties. We all have a stake in strong families and rich community opportunities in which children, youth, and adults can learn, grow, and contribute to their communities and the larger world. Families themselves bear important responsibilities in making the Family Life 1st Seal of Approval work in practice.
  • Families must make their own decisions, based on their values and priorities, about balancing family time and outside activities.
  • Families must inform activity leaders in advance about limits they will place on their child’s participation
  • Families have to speak up when asked to make time commitments they believe to be unreasonable.
  • Once they agree to a schedule of activities, families are responsible to follow through.
  • Just as activity leaders must respect family life, families must respect activity leaders and other program participants by being faithful to agreed-upon schedules.
  • When a family priority requires an absence or change in schedule, the family has the obligation to inform the activity leader as far in advance as possible.

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