At Independence: A Family of Services, Inc. (IFS), our mission is to create pathways to success for our at-risk and underserved residents in urban communities through innovative behavioral and mental health, and through our residential and educational programs.
IFS began in 1971 as Independence High School, a nonprofit organization established to provide alternative education services to our high school dropouts. For the past forty years, IFS has been committed to seeing that the underserved young people in and around Newark, New Jersey receive the education and social services that they need to keep them in school and on a path toward successful adulthood.
IFS has expanded services and reach to include both young people and families throughout Essex County.
To reflect the organization’s growth as the multi-service agency we are today, our name was changed to Independence: A Family of Services, Inc. in 1991.
IFS’s mission is to create pathways to success for at-risk and underserved residents in urban communities through innovative behavioral and mental health and residential and educational programs.
Independence: A Family of Services, Inc. (IFS) is a community-based, nonprofit agency that has served at-risk youth and families in Essex County for over 46 years. IFS began in 1971 as Independence High School, a nonprofit organization established to provide supportive, alternative education services to high school dropouts in Newark. Over the years, the scope of the agency’s activities expanded as we continued to meet pressing needs within the community. With Independence High School remaining a key component of the organization, in 1992 our name was changed to Independence: A Family of Services, Inc. to reflect the organization’s growth to the multi-service agency we are today.
We serve children, teenagers, adults, and their families who reside primarily in Northern New Jersey and who are at substantial risk of dealing with abuse, neglect, or other mental health issues. We also help those at risk of failure in school, involvement or placement with the criminal justice system, out-of-home placement, current or future unemployment, underemployment and critical judgment errors.
At IFS, we have a long-standing “No Reject, No Eject” philosophy. This means we take on all clients who meet our funders’ criteria. No matter the challenge or the difficulty, we will work with them to find effective service interventions to encourage positive behaviors and successful outcomes. This commitment to each individual’s growth allows us to connect with our youth and families, offering them a range of experiences and services, that will encourage successful habits and personal development.
“I am, therefore we are; we are, therefore I am.”
This statement is the foundation of all we do at IFS, so that we always connect every client to a larger family and emphasize the larger family’s responsibility to each individual.
We make sure that every child, youth and family with whom we work understand that they must:
- Strive to build and maintain unity in their families and communities
- Act each day with a positive purpose that will build themselves, their family and their community to a state of wellness
- Work to define themselves positively and not allow others to define who they are or what they can become
- Be part of the positive energy that is responsible for building, re-building and maintaining healthy individuals, families and communities
- Pour creative and positive energy into all that they do
- Believe that their leaders (teachers, clergy, elders) will provide the direction required for them to become whole and healthy as individuals, families and communities
- Teach and show respect to elders and seek the wisdom of those who have come before them
By pursuing and instilling each of these values, we envision a world in which all of our young people are provided the skills, resources and support that they need to stand on their own, but are never alone.