The world our children will inherit looks very different from that of previous generations. We are facing economic uncertainty, fierce competiveness in the global marketplace, safety and security issues at home and abroad, a rapid decline in natural resources and an energy crisis. The future depends on how well we raise and prepare all our children to become successful adults who can meet the immense and diverse challenges of this century.
The National Institute for Family Success (NIFS) is a unique entity established to promote a decisive new approach to supporting children, youth and families in their communities across our country. By ensuring that our children have the resources and supports they need to achieve their greatest potential, we can positively impact our nation's social and economic security. Through dialogue, thinking and planning, new courses of action and effective methods of measuring progress, The NIFS offers a message of hope in changing the course of our future.
Why The NIFS and What Is Family Success?
For well over half a century the burgeoning child, youth and family-serving industry has organized primarily around reacting to or trying to prevent the myriad symptoms of family distress. Vast investments have been made in this casualty-based model resulting in a fragmented, costly and unsustainable quagmire of policies, services and practices. At the same time, we have seen a downward spiral of child and family well-being. In this casualty-based system, it is rare that families have any degree of influence on the policies and practices intended to help them. While efforts have been made by well-intentioned people, indicators of our progress are worse. Data from our current recession indicates that the number of families with life-sustaining resources is decreasing, while the number of children and families living in or near poverty is growing. This gap is widening at an alarming rate. We are not only losing our competitive edge and equal opportunity for all but our confidence and collective spirit as a nation.
Need for a decisive new approach
As a society we must create a public dialogue about the crisis of family distress and the urgent need to change this course of direction. We must have policies and practices in place that promote Family Success. As an alternative to the Family Distress model, the Family Success Strategy engages family members as the most important partners and mobilizes thinking and action around what they want and need to succeed. Family Success happens when family members have easy access to the positive supports, resources and opportunities that afford them and their children the greatest chance for a good life. Family Success nourishes early childhood success, positive youth development, and strong families and communities. It requires a new way of thinking and action and a bold reallocation of resources both locally and nationally. Family Success transforms the traditional casualty-based framework into one that nurtures hope and yields positive outcomes for families.
The National Institute for Family Success (NIFS) promotes policies, practices, skills, competencies and community awareness that facilitate family success. The NIFS generates dramatic shifts in thinking, practice and the allocation of resources by bringing family members into decisions that impact child, youth and family well-being. Family voice and leadership help government leaders, policy-makers, service providers, and community and business leaders set bold new directions so that communities can better support their families. Strong families and strong communities secure our future.
What The NIFS Has to Offer
The NIFS strives to be a change agent for Family Success to benefit all families in all communities. The NIFS promotes Family Success through policy and advocacy; "idea" incubation and initiative development; hands-on training and technical assistance for organizations and within communities; and research and evaluation. By generating public dialogue and formal planning, The NIFS engages families and community residents, policy-makers, service providers, businesses and the media in examining the current circumstances and formulating new approaches to Family Success. The NIFS helps decision makers and their communities reach clear decisions, implement decisive new practices and use qualitative and quantitative methods to measure progress.
Who Is The NIFS?
The NIFS is the culmination of a long collaboration between Jeanne Warnock and Tom Blatner, who for the last 30 years have wrestled with the issues of Family Distress versus Family Success. Jeanne Warnock is the Founder and President of Family Intervention Services (FIS), a well-established non-profit service provider in New Jersey. FIS has developed a unique approach to helping children and families achieve positive outcomes, and provides a range of services and support for families to become more independent and self-sufficient. In addition to her work at FIS, Jeanne has been a tireless advocate for policies and practices that support the well-being of families, has initiated major legislative reform and has served as a court appointed monitor for children's issues in New Jersey. Jeanne met Tom Blatner in 1982 when he was the head of New Jersey's Child Welfare Agency. Tom has served in executive level positions in government until 1988 when he founded JANUS Solutions, a New Jersey-based consulting firm that offers services in the areas of child and family well-being, workforce development and financial independence, and quality living for vulnerable adults. Jeanne and Tom have partnered with Lori Maloney, Principal and Executive Vice President of Janus Solutions, to establish and lead The National Institute for Family Success. The NIFS falls under the governance of the Board of Directors of FIS and is a partnership between FIS and JANUS Solutions.