(973) 372-5601 Info@ifsnj.org 15 Smalley Terrace Irvington, NJ 07111



The program name, Mgbede, pronounced “mmm-bway-day,” is from an Ibo word for “rites of passage.”  It was chosen to capture the program’s goal of helping youth and their families.  In Mgbede, clients are defined not by their problems or labels, but by what they are already good at and enjoy. This strength-based approach encourages positive, rather than negative, behaviors and leads to better outcomes.


A typical IFS Mgbede client is in his or her mid-teens and may suffer from fear of abandonment, or sometimes actual parental rejection, leading to homelessness, gang affiliation, poor emotional control, extreme challenging of authority, dropping out or being pushed out of school.


The menu of Mgbede services includes the following:


  • Case management: We provide the traditional services of assessment,  information, and referral. However, we also offer reality-based counseling, which helps clients see their daily difficulties as opportunities for learning life and coping skills.

  • Individual, group, and family therapy: As needed, we provide more extensive therapeutic support and positive youth development services.

  • 24-hour crisis intervention: Clients may call for help with emergencies.

  • Mentoring: Community members provide one-on-one emotional support and positive youth development services.

  • Foster care: Our foster homes help keep youth out of institutions, allowing them to work toward family reunification or self-sufficiency in a stable living situation.

  • Home visits and community outreach: Visits by our family workers provide support and behavioral coaching in our clients’ homes, schools, and other settings.

  • Life skills training for youth aging out of out-of-home placement: We teach life skills to help youth gain independence and become productive contributors to their communities.

  • Communication with referral agencies and other service providers: We remain in touch with referral agencies and other service providers involved with our clients regarding important matters such as discharge planning and referrals.

  • Aftercare support: Children who graduate or leave Mgbede are given support by family workers for up to six months.

  • Independence High School. In partnership with Youth Consultation Services, we operate Independence High School as a year-round alternative educational program for students from 14 to 21 years old.

“One once said that saying goodbye can be one of  the most traumatic  experiences one can go through, but I’m proud to say goodbye. Not only am I proud, I’m also excited too. Through my years of  error and success, I have learned that there is not one height I can’t fly to, there are no limits to where my drive can take me and the only thing I will  regret is not doing it safely. I’m a man now, and thanks to IFS I can stand on this land, ground, or whatever you may call it and look into the sky and see light shining on me because I am that proud man.” — Traivon Thompson-Rios

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Contact IFS:
Administrative Office
179 Van Buren
Newark, NJ 07105

Education & Program Center
15 Smalley Terrace
Irvington, NJ 07111
(973) 372-5601

East Orange Family Success Center
60 Evergreen Place
3rd Floor, Suite 307
East Orange, NJ 07018
(973) 395-1442