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

Independence Zone

Independence: A Family of Services (IFS) presents an opportunity to complete core requirements to earn a diploma and finish the High School experience for our youth ages 14 to 21.

For Our Youth: Direct Services

IFS Program modules reflect the cultural and linguistic realities of our youth and their families.

Therapeutic Services

Therapeutic interventions are designed for young people who are in need of more intensive services than are provided through our general case management and counseling. This includes individual, group and/or family therapy and crisis intervention.

Life Skills Instruction

Using a federally recognized curriculum, this course module provides our young people with the knowledge and skills needed to live independently. This course encourages growth through opportunities for learning, problem solving, and enhancement of self-esteem all while increasing the youth’s awareness of community resources and services. Life Skills students are typically better prepared for daily life challenges and integrate into society with a much healthier and productive outlook.

Our Approach

IFS invokes a “strength-based” approach to teach our youth better coping skills that lead to more positive behavior and progressive performance in education.

  • For youth between the ages of 14 and 21
  • Customized services for our at-risk youth
  • Off-site or on-site during after-school hours
  • Counseling and case management services
  • Educational support services
  • Training for daily responsibility and commitment to education completion

“I am living and learning how to deal with certain people at certain times and that there is a time and place for everything. I now realize that graduating is my main priority and that foolishness is not going to help me get a diploma.” – Matthew, an IFS Life Skills graduate”

“This program helped me learn a lot. I learned how to get along with people that I am not used to being around. While in class I have a better understanding of people and can communicate better and express my feelings. I am getting a better understanding of life and I’m motivated to stay in school and graduate faster.” – Ali, an IFS Life Skills graduate”

Independence: A Family of Services (IFS) presents, for LGBTQ youth, an opportunity to complete core requirements to earn a diploma and finish the High School experience for ages 14 to 21.

Support Services for LGBTQ Youth Ages 14-21 Years Old

For Our Youth: Direct Services

IFS Program modules reflect the cultural and linguistic realities of our youth and their families.

Therapeutic Services

Therapeutic interventions are designed for young people who are in need of more intensive services than are provided through our general case management and counseling. This includes individual, group and/or family therapy and crisis intervention.

Life Skills Instruction

Using a federally recognized curriculum, this course module provides our young people with the knowledge and skills needed to live independently. This course encourages growth through opportunities for learning, problem solving, and enhancement of self-esteem all while increasing the youth’s awareness of community resources and services. Life Skills students are typically better prepared for daily life challenges and integrate into society with a much healthier and productive outlook.

Our Approach

IFS invokes a “strength-based” approach to teach our youth better coping skills that lead to more positive behavior and progressive performance in education.

  • For youth between the ages of 14 and 21
  • Customized services for our at-risk youth
  • Off-site or on-site during after-school hours
  • Counseling and case management services
  • Educational support services
  • Training for daily responsibility and commitment to education completion

For Our Professionals: Coaching and Training

Independence: A Family of Services (IFS) has collaborated with Garden State Equality to create a training and technical assistance for educational and behavioral health professionals. This program will focus on engaging social emotional learning (SEL), character education modules and additional technical assistance specifically for services involving the LGBTQ youth. The training and technical assistance instruction reflects the cultural and linguistic realities of LGBTQ youth and their families.

Our Partner

Garden State Equality uses evidence-based research that includes integrated models and methods centered on a whole-school approach. We use recognized best practices in serving At-Risk and LGBTQ individuals to build collaborative services that provide a welcoming and inclusive climate, and emphasize linkages, referrals and resources appropriate for a student to thrive in and out of the classroom.

“I am living and learning how to deal with certain people at certain times and that there is a time and place for everything. I now realize that graduating is my main priority and that foolishness is not going to help me get a diploma.” – Matthew, an IFS Life Skills graduate”

“This program helped me learn a lot. I learned how to get along with people that I am not used to being around. While in class I have a better understanding of people and can communicate better and express my feelings. I am getting a better understanding of life and I’m motivated to stay in school and graduate faster.” – Ali, an IFS Life Skills graduate”

Independence: A Family of Services (IFS), presents the Independence Zone. An Afterschool Program that provides Life Skills Training, Educational Counseling, and Homework Assistance for grades 6-8. IFS provides youth with the opportunity for learning, problem solving, and enhancement of self-esteem all while increasing the youth’s awareness of their own internal and external focus of control resources. Students participating in these services will be better prepared for their daily responsibilities and requirements as set by NPS, their parents and other authority figures.

Hours of Operations: 15 students per session
Life Skills Instruction: 90 minutes each session.
Homework Assistance: Three (3) hours a day, three (3) days each week
Educational Counseling: 90 minutes each session

 

For Our Youth: IFS After School Program

Our goal is to teach our youth better coping skills which will lead to more positive behaviors and progressive performance in education, at home and in the community. IFS will provide our youth with the opportunity for learning, problem solving, and enhancement of self-esteem all while increasing the youth’s awareness of their own internal and external focus.

Life Skills Training

This training empowers our youth by providing daily and life survival skills training, assessment, case management, and cultural and recreational activities. Students are assessed and guided through the Life Skills curriculum, which includes lessons in:

  • Career Planning
  • Communications
  • Daily Living Skills
  • Home Life
  • Housing & Money Management
  • Self Care
  • Work Life
  • Work and Study Skills
  • Social Relationships

Homework Assistance

This program is comprised of tutorial services in reading, writing and mathematics, as well as remediation programs for students with learning issues. Students work individually or in small groups to complete their homework and projects.

Educational Counseling

This program is a combination of life skills training, case management and educational services. It adddresses academic deficits using a “strength-based” approach empowering students to overcome adversities. Based on our extensive expertise in this area, we understand the intensity required to achieve successful results and strive to integrate educational counselling as part of our program services including Life Skills instruction and homework assistance. The entire program provides the perfect opportunity to encourage students to develop excitement for higher learning.

Customized Services

This program includes programming for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning students dealing with challenges that they face in school and in their communities.

For Our Parents

Connecting with School Administrators and Families

We have learned a valuable lesson here at IFS. It is the need for direct and personal interaction among the adults in a child’s life. It is crucial that our youth see that the adults are committed to helping them and that both our youth and the adults are engaged with each other. IFS staff help dissolve the distinction between in-class time and Afterschool time, providing direct and personal interaction among the adults in the youth’s life.

IFS has served youth and families from many schools in the Newark Public Schools district. As a State provider of Life Skills and as an agency that provides direct educational counseling support to youth throughout all of Essex County, IFS has mandated that the biological, step, guardian, or kinship family members are an integral part of the service paradigm.

About IFS

For 46 years, IFS has been providing services to our youth enrolled in the Newark Public School system’s regular or alterative schools. IFS works with youth who are behind their graduating class by 2 or more years and are approaching a period in their lives where they will be aging out of the educational system. Many of these young people struggle with issues of self-esteem that are directly related to their ability to fit within the school environment. As a result, IFS provides our youth with the opportunity for learning and problem solving thereby enhancing their self-esteem and promoting positive, healthy individuals. We use best practices providing tools and services for students to recover from past emotional and psychological trauma stemming from negative and/or abusive family, school or community environments. Our programming helps to reduce negative stigma, empower our young people and create safe spaces with culturally-defined measures.

To date, IFS has served more than 12,000 persons, achieving an 85% success rate in keeping youth safely and meaningfully in the community and avoiding institutional placement.


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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
132 South Harrison Street
East Orange, NJ 07018
(973) 395-1442