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News & Updates from the Institute for Families: October 2021
October 6, 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.

Program Updates
The mobile-device-friendly version of the New Jersey Child Welfare Data Hub was deployed on September 16 after more than 18 months of team work to upgrade the platform.  

IFF Field Placements
Beginning in September, IFF welcomed a cohort of five field placement interns. IFF has implemented an innovative and comprehensive Group Supervision model which provides students the opportunity to work within their programs but spend time learning together once week, as well as allowing IFF to host interns with task supervisors while keeping supervision in house.

IFF in the News - ICARE (Inclusion, Courtesy, Awareness, Respect & Education) for the LGBTQ+ Community
Deputy Commissioner of the NJ Dept. of Human Services nod to IFF’s work with Hudson Pride Center around anti-discrimination training. As the Deputy Commissioner shares, the trainings cover a range of topics and include education around how shelter providers can make their spaces more welcoming, more inclusive, and how they can improve staff’s knowledge so that they can have better tools to communicate effectively and respectfully to LGBTQI+ individuals who are accessing services.

Statewide press release: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/pressreleases/2021/approved/20210727.html

Professional Accolades
DCF/Human Service Advisory Councils Needs Assessment Webinar
Lon Arnold-Berkovits
, Rebecca Swann-Jackson, and Lorin Mordecai Tredinnick presented the findings of a needs assessment conducted for the state’s 21 Human Service Advisory Council members alongside the Department of Children and Families (DCF) at a virtual forum on August 2, 2021 at 1:00 PM.

During 2019-2020, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the county Human Service Advisory Councils (HSACs) undertook a comprehensive assessment of counties’ assets and needs in support of families' welfare and well-being. After hearing from over 6,000 participants through surveys, focus groups and key informant interviews. IFF’s Research and Evaluation team synthesized findings about priority need areas, barriers to addressing those needs, impacted subpopulations, successes and progress, and recommendations for action. Those findings will be presented at the forum. ​

Rebecca Swann-Jackson will be presenting a session at the Oral History Association's annual meeting on October 14, 2021. The session, "Reflecting on and Incorporating 'Rethinking Oral History and Tradition': A Reading Discussion" focuses on a book by Nepia Mahuika.

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