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News & Updates from the Institute for Families: June 2021
June 18, 2021

The Institute for Families (IFF) at Rutgers School of Social Work advances the professional practices and knowledge base of individuals and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. As the School’s largest center, IFF delivers a $35 million portfolio of contracts delivering training, technical assistance, and applied research and evaluation services. IFF works to:

  • Advance New Jersey’s child welfare and human service systems through workforce partnerships that lead to more equitable, improved childhood experiences;
  • educate child and family-serving professionals through innovative learning experiences that build evidence-based practices in their everyday work with youth and their caregivers; and
  • demonstrate practices that impact and improve childhood outcomes through applied research and evaluation methods.

Read on for updates on just some of the many recent activities taking place within IFF.

Evaluations & Reports

  • IFF completed its evaluation of and final report for Overcoming Obstacles, a free curriculum that provides educators across the country with the tools to each elementary, middle, and high school students life skills. The report, “Overcoming Obstacles: Life Skills Curriculum for Elementary, Middle, and High School. Evaluation of Curriculum Implementation and Student Impact: Educator Survey,” presents findings from the educator survey as part of an independent evaluation of the curriculum conducted by IFF. The report is accessible on IFF’s website.
  • IFF will be providing evaluation services for the Family Guidance Center of Warren County’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) grant, which is funded by SAMHSA. The goal of the CCBHC is to increase access to, and improve the quality of, community mental and substance use disorder treatment services for individuals in Warren County. Its five target populations include high school students, older adults (aged 55+), individuals with hepatitis, minority populations (e.g., Latinx), and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community. 

Educational Trainings & Courses

  • IFF completed an online training course that will prepare staff working in New Jersey’s Kinship Navigator Programs, which are funded by the Department of Children and Families. The course, titled New Jersey Kinship Navigator Training for Case Managers and Staff, introduces the foundations of the program model, the service delivery process, and how Kinship Navigator Programs meet the unique needs of families who are engaged in kinship care arrangements in New Jersey. 
  • IFF’s Grow NJ Kids Training Services created a new online version of the Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Educators program. This Canvas-based course is delivered over five weeks and now offers participants the opportunity to engage in live, instructor-led workshops to kick off each module, followed by asynchronous course assignments and discussion boards throughout the week. Feedback from the first cohort was excellent. "The hybrid format was highly effective and allowed me to maximize learning while affording flexibility in scheduling," said one participant. 
  • A new health and safety course for New Jersey's early childhood educators and care providers titled, “Health, Safety, and Child Growth and Development: Refresher Course,” has been completed. This brief online course is designed to provide a reminder of critical content learned in the original eight-hour training and share some updated tips and resources. It will also be available in Spanish.


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