For Our Families
As a natural step in our organizational growth, IFS has expanded our programming beyond youth to include helping families as well. Currently, we are helping hundreds of families a year, by providing constructive parenting education, family counseling, parent child activities, job readiness training and information and referral services. The goal of our work with families is to help parents become more effective at fulfilling their roles as parents, partners, and employees.
Our ultimate goal is to help ensure that our community’s children grow-up in stable and nurturing biological homes.
Over IFS’s 2015-2016 calendar year, on average 300 families including over 900 children were served by the EOFSC. More than 75% of these families identified their annual income as $10,000 or less. Without question, the EOFSC plays a vital role for financially disadvantaged children and families in the Oranges.
Current Programs & Accomplishments:
The goal of the EOFSC is to strengthen families and neighborhoods for the benefit of the area’s children. The EOFSC connects families to services, through referrals for counseling support and education. Following are current programs and accomplishments of the past year, including:
Providing Resources and Services for Families: Over 250 families (and over 600 individuals) are being supported on a daily basis, in many ways including:
- Rental assistance, which has prevented many families from being evicted and becoming homeless.
- Utilities assistance has allowed for electricity to be restored in homes to provide the necessary means for children to study during the evening hours.
- Books are collected and distributed to over 100 families to support EOFSC’s reading and literacy programs.
- Each fall, warm coats and clothing are collected and distributed to over 200 families in need.
- Families are offered career and business planning leading several families to gain employment from the job information and coaching that was provided.
- Families received parenting support workshops to help them learn how to strengthen their children’s educational needs.
- Adolescent youth participate in pre-employment training prior to placement for summer employment.
- Parents enjoy time with their children in a variety of activities designed to support their bonding and learning experience.
Family Services: Over 250 families receive assessments and an individualized family plan. The assessment allows the IFS staff to pinpoint specific needs and provide recommendations on how to address those needs. Services include, but are not limited to:
- Referral to appropriate social services agencies and state offices
- Referrals to other community-based organizations that provide the service in need
- Enrollment into the EOFSC parent-child programs
- Enrollment into parent peer-to-peer groups sessions and workshops that assist individuals in becoming better parents
Information on Family Health: Free on-site health screenings are provided to at minimum 75 families. EOFSC ensures that families are aware of state-funded health insurance for their children and if a family is in need of insurance, they are referred to New Jersey Family Care program. Also, information sessions are hosted on Healthcare Marketplace and individuals and families are encouraged to enroll as needed.
Parent Education & Life Skills Training: A total of 221 parents are served each year and are focused on education. In 2016, two (2) cohorts of the Active Parenting Curriculum Workshops were facilitated. The six-session workshop series focus on parents with school-age children and/or young teens. All workshops and seminars have specific goals and objectives and are presented based on the families’ needs.
Housing Services: Over 200 individuals receive assistance with housing-related services. The Center is exceptionally well positioned to meet the high number of referrals. Due to several community-based relationships that address housing needs, extensive knowledge on affordable housing in the Oranges is offered to families.
Home Visits: EOFSC’s primary role is to serve as a neighborhood gathering place and home visits are not routine. However, on occasion, home visits have been made to those families with extenuating circumstances. Ten (10) home visits are made on average each year.
Advocacy: The EOFSC acts as an advocate on behalf of our families when meeting with social service agencies or other organizations that require us to help them navigate the many steps to obtain the necessary services. Also, this allows our staff to work with families so that they learn how to advocate for themselves.
Economic Self-Sufficiency: We help families achieve economic self-sufficiency by offering financial literacy classes, and job referral and job search coaching. Over 210 individuals were serviced in 2016.
Family Goal-Setting: All families (over 250 annually) are encouraged to set goals for themselves and help is provided for families to create and implement Family Success Plans for achieving these goals. Progress is measured based upon completed goals.
Saving Our Sons: This program for 25 boys, ages 8 and above, is designed to help them understand the challenges that are faced in schools and in social settings. Participants are provided with training and group discussions on strategies to support healthy childhood development in a positive manner. They also participate in activities, which provide an opportunity to partake in fun activities with other boys their age.