Did You Know?
Independence: A Family of Services, Inc. (IFS) has served youth and families for over 43 years in the Newark, New Jersey metropolitan area, and has expanded its services to include all of urban Northern New Jersey. Although it is a complex endeavor, our ultimate goal is to help our clients break the often generational cycle of dependency on government assistance, attain self-sufficiency, and live productive lives.
- Independence: A Family of Services began as a high school for dropouts. Our support is unconditional and respectful—we treat children and families the same way all of us would want our own children and families to be treated.
- At our Education & Program Center in Irvington, we offer a “one-stop shop” approach to care: whatever child and/or family needs, we make sure they get it: counseling, medical care, education, and/or tutoring. The center is on-call 24 hours a day to handle any crisis
- We have our own IFS foster homes, for infants and youth up to 18 years old
- We offer in-school support—at Independence High School and nearby public schools—so we can work with teachers and other adults in a child’s life, to make sure all problems are being addressed
- We work closely with young people who are going to be on their own, without families, because they are aging out of DYFS support services, through following:
- At the East Orange Family Success Center, we are open to ALL families in East Orange, as a resource at all times, not only when family is in crisis
- We offer another “one-stop shop” approach—whatever a family needs, they will be assisted to successful conclusion at EOFSC, from finding health insurance for their children to help with getting utilities turned back on.
Our Specialty: Culturally Relevant Programming
IFS uses Rites of Passage programming methodologies in an academic and cultural framework for the purpose of connecting African-American, and Multicultural students of the African Diaspora, with the history, literature, traditions, and folklore of ancient Africa, and of the African experience in Western civilization. The ultimate goal of the program is to honor the traditions of cultures that recognize the transition from childhood to adulthood, and assist youth in making the transition meaningful so they understand the challenges of living as responsible adults.
As a part of our total service platform, IFS operates an alternative educational component at Independence High School in collaboration with Youth Consultation Service. Independently, our Life Skills programs provide services to youth in over 11 school districts, including Newark Public Schools, in four counties as well as colleges throughout New Jersey. IFS works, in partnership, with post high school programs as support for our graduating students. We collaborate with Lincoln Technical Institute and Essex County College to provide supportive services to IFS clients attending their institutions, thus giving IFS students continuity and support while in higher education. Also, our partnership with Garden State Equality assists us in implementing LGBTQ counseling and training services.