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the institute on family and neighborhood life helps generate, share and apply the research foundation for youth, family, and community social development. work at ifnl starts from the premise that strong communities support strong families and vice versa, and that both are necessary for healthy development of children and youth. ifnl is part of the clemson university college of behavioral, social and health sciences.
our mission is to generate, share, and apply the knowledge needed to strengthen ties between families and communities. we believe that help is most acceptable, efficient, and effective when it is built into everyday life. we are particularly interested in the everyday experiences of children, youth, and adults in neighborhood institutions, such as schools, workplaces, religious organizations, civic groups, and courts. we seek to provide the knowledge necessary to enable these institutions to ensure respect for individual dignity, enhance "natural" social assistance, build a sense of community, promote civic participation, and foster family and neighborhood responsibility. we also strive to understand ways that public policy supports or hinders families and neighborhoods in these tasks and to offer alternatives that foster the creation of neighborly ("family friendly") communities.
to accomplish these goals, the institute conducts empirical research, performs policy analyses, develops and evalsuates programs, and provides technical assistance and community education. we work at all levels from neighborhood to global, because a comparative perspective offers new insights in understanding grassroots phenomena in neighborhoods and developing effective responses in public policy and community development practice.
the institute's work is focused on three themes. we conduct research and provide public service related to these broad topics: