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Alan and Joanne Foley are the creators of the Early Catholic Family Life Program.


For 14 years, Joanne was a Parent Educator and Administrator in a nationally recognized and acclaimed public school program called Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) offered in schools throughout Minnesota. As an ECFE teacher, Joanne partnered with other staff to write curricula for ECFE aimed at strengthening families through education, and supporting the parents of young children. 

Realizing that the strengths of the ECFE model could be used effectively to help Catholic parents better form families with Christ at the center, Joanne and Alan then wrote the Early Catholic Family Life program (ECFL) ECFL focused on helping parents to become stronger faith leaders of their children and how to enhance their children's spiritual life. 


Joanne found in her teaching that parents were eager to learn how to communicate and teach their own moral and religious values to their children. As life long Catholics eager to evangelize within the local church, the Foleys decided that Early Catholic Family Life (ECFL) should be shared with their diocese and beyond. It was a natural fit, since as a Business Administrator, Alan is familiar with the issues surrounding implementation of new programs, and how to be successful in situations where financial and other resources are scarce.

At the beginning the Foleys worked extensively with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Office of Marriage and Family Life to build the Early Catholic Family Life Program and to promote it within the Archdiocese. We are very grateful for their assistance.

The Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) has offered grants to parishes in the Twin Cities to implement ECFL. Thanks to Meg Payne Nelson at CCF for her consistent and longstanding support.

The Foleys have also partnered with the Catholic School Center of Excellence (CSCOE). Thank you to Gail Dorn, AnneMarie Vega and everyone at CSCOE for their assistance in helping ECFL with marketing and communications and for helping to introduce ECFL to Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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