International Commission on Couple and Family Relations


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What does the Commission actually do?

It serves as a catalyst for the networking of professionals in the public and voluntary sectors who are involved in work with couples and families (See Mission Statement), through an annual conference, the publication of conference papers and reports and a website.

What is the Commission’s vision?

  • To improve public understanding of key issues in the field of couple and family relations within the different countries from which members of the Commission come.
  • To act as an information resource on these issues through the annual conference, the website and publications.
  • To facilitate networking between the Commission’s members.
  • To provide a regular international journal, build up closer collaboration with research institutes and commission research.

What is the conference?

The conference draws on a worldwide network of experts in the field of family and couple relationships. The conference format is one of presentations and workshops on new thinking and developments in family and social policy, laws and therapies, which feed into multidisciplinary discussion groups. This allows members attending the conference to participate and contribute fully.

Who can contribute to the conference planning and programme?

The conference takes place in a different country each year. The Board and the host organisation form a planning team, which involves a number of members and other interested parties. We also take part in conferences organised by other bodies, for example the AFCC conference in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2017, and the conference of the President’s Foundation for the Well-being of Society in Malta in 2018. All members are welcome to put forward ideas and venues for future conferences and should contact the secretariat of ICCFR.

Who are the members of the Commission and what are the criteria for membership?

Organisations in the public and voluntary sectors and individuals including lawyers, judges, policy makers, counselling and therapy practitioners, researchers and teachers are members. Work in the field of couple and family relationships is the criterion for membership.

How many members are there?

Organisations and individuals from over 40 countries worldwide belong to the Commission, either as contributing members or as associates. On average the conferences attract 80 – 100 participants from 20 – 25 countries.

Does the Commission have a governing body? If so, how are that body’s members appointed?

There is a meeting of members and associates annually at the conference. A Board of about twelve members from different disciplines and countries, representative of the membership, attends to the planning and running of the Commission’s annual tasks.

Are there senior officers such as a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer? How are they appointed? What are their terms of office? Are they paid for their services?

The Board of the Commission has a Chair, a Vice-Chair and a Treasurer. The appointments are made by the Board in the expectation that they will each serve for a period of 3 – 5 years. None of the office-holders or members of the Board is paid for his or her services, but the Board is assisted by a part-time paid Administrator.

How is the work of the Commission funded?

Members make financial contributions, grants are received from government departments and donations are made by the ICCFR Trust. The conferences are usually self-financing.