JF&CS StL County Grant for Kids & Families
Expands Services to the Jewish Community
When Jewish Family & Children's Service received the $1.044 million St.
Louis County Children's Service Fund Award, Lou Albert, executive director, knew it would have a big impact on the Jewish community. It increased the JF&CS budget by almost one-third, enabling the Jewish Federation beneficiary agency to invest an extra $564,000 in targeted services at day schools, congregations and Jewish agencies for four specific programs for kids and families.
"This is significant and it's all focused on service," said Albert. "Our goal is to reach every Jewish child or teenager in St. Louis County who needs these services."
The funds come from passage of the St. Louis County 1/4 cent sales tax "Putting Kids First" campaign to be used for both existing and expanded children's services. JF&CS is one of 40 agencies that received funding for Jewish and non-Jewish families and children in St. Louis County. "We applied in four different categories and were fully funded in each: home and community-based intervention services, individual group and family counseling, outpatient psychiatric services and prevention services - The Child Abuse Prevention Program," said Albert. This amazing news came at a time when many non-profits are struggling to make ends meet.
The impact on the Jewish community is palpable. “It means JF&CS will be able to provide each of St. Louis' seven day schools with up to 16 hours a week of school-based social work services at no cost to the school,” said Albert. In addition, JF&CS will offer testing and assessment services at no cost. This also includes kindergarten readiness screening. And The Child Abuse Prevention Program will continue to offer services to the day schools, JCC Early Childhood Center and camps or any organization in our community interested in bringing in the program. Also, at no cost, for the first time there will be a child psychiatrist on staff at JF&CS.
Cheryl Maayan, head of Saul Mirowitz Day School - Reform Jewish Academy, is looking forward to the benefits, especially the social worker's hours which will extend from three to 16 hours a week. "Sometimes our social worker will help a teacher with tips on how to handle a specific student who is going through a hard time. We may work with a child whose parents are going through a divorce or help a child who is having anxiety problems. We may work with students experiencing social conflict or present a curriculum on character development with an entire class. The goal is to give our students the words to handle social conflict and a sense of problem solving that will help them go on to become confident middle schoolers. It's also comforting to know that other services are available for the asking.”
JF&CS President Fred Steinbach touted the importance of this funding to our Jewish community. "'Putting Kids First' is a tremendous program allowing us to serve an important segment of our community that has obviously been underserved up until now. We are particularly interested in the opportunity to serve the Jewish community because other organizations have not filled this void."
Albert added that these dollars are renewable. "It's not a one-time fund. The intention is that we can come back, year after year for funding for the same kinds of services. We don't have to fundraise for this money and it can become an ongoing boost to the day schools, congregations and Jewish agencies that need these services in our community."
Here are some projections about specifically how many Jewish kids (ages 0-18) can receive services: