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.

New Jersey Child Support Institute:

  • The New Jersey Child Support Institute presented 7 of the 30 sessions offered at the 40th Annual New Jersey Child Support Conference held virtually March 2-4.

NJ Victim Assistance Academy:

  • NJVAA began offering ACEs Interface training on February 16. ACEs stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and the training is designed to support widespread awareness, promote understanding, and empower communities to improve health and well-being throughout society.

Price & Camden Fellows:

  • Two virtual art inspiration workshops focusing on stress reduction and coping skills were held for Price and Camden Fellows on February 23 and 24 facilitated by an art therapist through Student Support Services.
  • Two virtual nutrition and cooking demonstrations were held for Price and Camden Fellows on March 9 and March 10 and were facilitated by students from Food Sciences.

Research & Evaluation:

  • The NJ Child Welfare Data Hub project was renewed for next fiscal year, FY23. The Data hub offers interactive data visualization tools to promote access and deepen understanding of the welfare, well-being, and health of New Jersey's children. The Data hub is a collaboration between the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJDCF) and Rutgers University School of Social Work, which acts as a third-party to research, analyze, and disseminate information on the hub.   
  • The data collection portion of a Needs Assessment being conducted to determine what best practices exist and what additional education and training are needed for staff serving the LGBTQ+ community was conducted in collaboration with the Division of Family Development (DFD). Preliminary findings were presented to DFD on March 18th and recommendations will be provided for practice, policy, and systems change as well as the development of additional ICARE trainings provided by IFF.
  • Under the lead of Dr. Rebecca Swann Jackson, IFF received funding for a new project called the Center for Parent and Teen Communication: Phase 2 Evaluation from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Parent and Teen Communication (CPTC). CPTC aims to support parents in building protective, nurturing, and strengths-based relationships and effective communication with their adolescent children. A pilot 2018 Content Development study (Evaluation Phase 1) examined how parents' knowledge and attitudes about adolescents and parenting changed after reviewing CPTC content developed. IFF will conduct Evaluation Phase 2 for the RYTE Institute at Montclair State University, assessing outputs and outcomes related to content, dissemination as well as parent and key opinion leaders’ knowledge.