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Strategic Overview


The mission of the Institute for Families (IFF), at the Rutgers School of Social Work, is to support and strengthen individuals, families, and communities by building the capacity of human service professionals and organizations.


The Institute for Families will become a nationally recognized entity where our research and education practices will improve the professional knowledge base and policy implementation arenas of the social service field, thus enhancing the lives of individuals, families, and communities throughout the world.


At IFF, we value each other and those we serve. We will:

  • Provide high quality service to our clients while promoting strong external partnerships;
  • Uphold the highest standards of integrity and excellence; and
  • Foster innovative thinking and creativity in our work.

Strategic Goals

These broad goals are intended to guide us in our future work and represent the basis for capacity building at the Institute for Families.

  • Increase the capacity of social workers and social service agencies and organizations to┬ámeet best practice standards and respond to the ever changing needs of their communities.
  • Marshal the resources of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey to create a more human, just, and equitable society.
  • In NJ and abroad, disseminate knowledge that leads to greater understanding of social problems.
  • Develop and attract leaders in interdisciplinary policy, research, and professional development on family, community, and organizational issues.

Cross-Cutting Themes

The work that we do is inspired by three main themes that are incorporated into our work across individual units.


Trauma Informed Care and Practice is a strengths-based framework grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors, and that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.


Evidence-based practice is the integration of clinical expertise/expert opinion, external scientific evidence, and client/patient/caregiver values to provide high-quality services reflecting the interests, values, needs, and choices of the individuals we serve.

Learning Organization

A learning organization is the term given to a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. Elements that make this up include the ability to see the big picture, a commitment to lifelong learning, openness, shared visions, and team learning.

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