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News & Updates from the Institute for Families
April 29, 2021

The Institute for Families (IFF) at Rutgers School of Social Work exists to advance the professional practices and knowledge base of individuals and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. As the largest of the School’s centers, the organization leads a portfolio of $16 million in programming and evaluation that increases the capacity of child welfare and human service systems, largely through training, technical assistance, applied research and evaluation services. Read on for updates on just some of the many recent activities taking place within IFF.

IFF Staff Accolades
Christine Blanos and Clarence Bernardo presented a workshop, "How Microsoft Teams Promotes Virtual Collaboration," at the Rutgers Online Learning Conference. The interactive presentation detailed how IFF’s Learning & Development team utilizes Microsoft Teams to collaborate on curriculum development projects. Christine also presented a micro-session on how to set up Microsoft Teams for instructional design collaboration.

Amml Hussein chaired the Eastern Psychological Association's Psychology Teaching Papers Session during the Spring 2021 conference. She also presented her research findings from a study, “An Investigation of the Affective Dimensions of the Undergraduate Sophomore Year Experience,” which explored the relationship between social and emotional learning variables on student success and retention during the sophomore year of the undergraduate experience.

Lorin Tredinnick was invited to serve on the editorial board of the Sport Social Work Journal, which brings attention to the needs of individuals and collectives within the athletic community and demonstrates how the profession of social work is suited to meet those needs.

Cecily White presented “From Foster Care to the Graduation Stage - Supporting College Students Leaving ‘the System’” at the Philadelphia Education Fund's Education First Compact. She discussed the Camden Fellows and Price Family Fellows model and was on a panel about implementing programs like the ones that exist at IFF at the college level.

Updates from IFF Units
The New Jersey Child Support Institute team, with efforts by instructional designers, trainers, operational staff, and editing staff, developed and facilitated six conference sessions for the 2021 New Jersey Child Support Training Event: “Day in Life of Remote Work,” “Workplace Wellness,” “Understanding Paternity: Processing Establishment and Disestablishment,” “Unsolved Mysteries of Case Closure,” “Providing Effective Customer Service in a Remote Environment,” and “Human Trafficking: Identification During Vital Interactions.”

The Price Family Fellows and Camden Fellows Programs hosted a professional networking event introducing the fellows to more than 20 professionals from various career fields who offered consultation on their education and professional aspirations. A celebration on May 14th will honor graduating fellows and all of the students who have worked incredibly hard this year. They excel against all odds, especially compared to national statistics revealing that less than 3% of former foster youth graduate college. Additionally, a generous donor made $10,000 gift to support summer internships which will offer the fellows paid opportunities to expand their professional experiences and networks.

The New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership announced registration for its first virtual conference, “Supporting Youth for a Better Tomorrow: Health, Hope, Justice, and Connection,” scheduled for May 4th and 5th with keynote speaker Joshua Wayne.

IFF's Data Hub and Evaluation teams produced a set of 21 data profiles that will be used by New Jersey’s County Human Services Advisory Councils for planning community services to improve family outcomes. These data sets include information ranging from demographics which cover poverty, cost of living, income, housing, food and nutrition, child care, transportation and commute, health care and health insurance, employment, community safety, domestic violence, substance abuse treatments, mental health, and education resources.  These profiles will be used by the HSACs and DCF to identify areas in need of support in each county. Visit https://dcfdata.ssw.rutgers.edu to view the data.

The Institute’s learning and development (L&D) team completed the fifth course in the eight-course series that makes up the Substance Use Disorder Fellowship program for the NJ Department of Children and Families. The course focused on the varied needs of diverse populations who may be impacted by substance use disorders as well as the importance of self-reflection in working to overcome racial and socio-economic inequities in the treatment, planning, and recovery process.

The L&D team finalized a new course for New Jersey School Age Care Coalition, the statewide network for afterschool communities. Titled “Afterschool 101: Foundations of Successful Afterschool Programming,” it provides an introduction to quality school-age child care, which provides a critical resource for tens of thousands of working parents across the state and enrichment programming for children, including tweens who practice developmentally appropriate risk-taking behaviors during otherwise unsupervised hours.  

Field Placement Updates
Five BASW and MSW field placement interns, Asia Davis, Carianne Kurabinski, Lauren Sappok, Rebecca Seman, and Sherry Euvin, completed their internships this week. A special thanks to their supervisors for all the time and effort committed to shaping these students’ placements into a meaningful one, including Ronda Marrimon, Adam Staats, Liz Binstein, Matthew Mayo, and Toni-Ann Capece.

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