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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Jewish Child & Family Services

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Counseling, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Mental Health

Mission: It is the mission of Jewish Child & Family Services to provide help, healing and caring services infused with Jewish values to strengthen lives in the community.

Results: JCFS is committed to tracking the progress of our clients as well as the quality of care we deliver. Some of the results we have seen this past year include: 92% of children in our Therapeutic Nursery improved how they relate with others; 92% of clients in our Counseling program reported that services met their needs; and 89% of families receiving Respite Services said that they feel more supported.

Target demographics: Children, adults and families, infants through older adults, living in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Geographic areas served: JCFS has 11 locations with offices in Downtown Chicago, West Rogers Park, Lombard, Arlington Heights, Prairie View, Northbrook, Skokie and Flossmoor.

Programs: Services include counseling, treatment for individuals with disabilities, respite care, special educational programs, and residential care for abused and neglected children.

Community Stories

32 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Andy R.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had the good fortune to work as a clinician at this organization for nearly 11 years, so I can personally attest to the quality of treatment services provided, the professionalism of the environment, and the respect and value given to the staff by the leadership of the agency. The ethical standards are high and the commitment to client service is heartfelt. It's a great place to work and to receive help!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

All of the therapists that we have worked with through JCFS have been caring, professional and supportive. Our child has made tremendous progress over the past 3 years, and we attribute this to the dedication and attention of his JCFS team. After visiting and observing many clinics for our child, we felt JCFS would be the best match for our family, and we have never regretted our decision. They are all wonderful!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Jewish Child & Family Services offers honest, professional and concise services to a vast group of clientele. They work endlessly to meet the needs of their clients and I am happy to have experienced the greatness of JCFS.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our child has been receiving various therapies at JCFS for about 2.5 years.  We could not be more pleased with the progress we have seen in this time.  Each therapist that has worked one on one with her have not only helped her to achieve her goals, but have also made each therapy session fun and exciting for her.  She loves to see each of them every week!  Everyone at JCFS has been so wonderful to work with.  The genuine feeling each person has for our child's growth and success is something you don't find often.  Without the help of JCFS, I am not sure our daughter would have realized the majority of her goals.  

Volunteer

Rating: 5

JCFS is an impressive agency with knowledgable, caring, and dedicated professionals on its staff. In my role as an early childhood educator, I was fortunate to work with a child development specialist from the Virginia Frank Child Development Center, one of the programs of JCFS. I was so grateful for the support the consultant provided me, members of our staff, and the families in our program that I wanted to support the work of the Virginia Frank CDC in any way I could. I am presently involved as a volunteer with a group called the Friends of Virginia Frank. I find it to be an extremely gratifying experience to be involved with this group and work with such dedicated, intelligent, and compassionate professionals. Through my work with the Friends of Virginia Frank I have become more knowledgable about the wide array of services that JCFS offers and am so pleased to support the important and vital services that the agency provides.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the lucky one when it comes to the Holiday Gift Program sponsored by JCFS. And NOT because I am a recipient. This program has given more to my family than we could ever have given to it. For over at least the last 12 years we as a family have had the opportunity to make Hannukah wishes come true for children who may not otherwise have gifts to open. While that seems generous--it pales in comparison to what we have gained. JCFS has organized the most extensive, inclusive and completely private gift-giving progam. Each year I request 4 children in need of achieving a happy Hannukah. Why 4? Becasue I have four of my own children. When we started this program I wanted them to learn about giving to others. They each "shopped" for their child--yep, we read our child what was on the wish list and we all walked the aisles of the toy store looking for just the right item. I was even able to request recipients around the same ages as my own children so they could get the full experience, appreciation and understanding of giving.The similar aged child made it SOOO very relateable to them. To this day--even though my kids range in age from 16-23 and I do most of the shopping, we still have one night of Hannukah when we don't exchange any gifts and call it our donation night. This program is the gift that keeps on giving--TO MY FAMILY. We are reminded how lucky we are and how it's our responsibility to help others. And, those "others" could be us one day or could be our neighbors today. This year, unbeknownst to myself, I would have my world opened by one of the JCFS children. A 17 year old boy (yes, he is still a child deserving of gifts) requested some books. While buying one of them I learned from the store owner how great it was. So, I sent my husband to the library to get it and he read and loved it and now the book is in my hands and I can't put it down. Who knew that an anonymous 17 year old young man would enrich my life? THANK YOU JCFS for allowing the parents of these children to give them gifts from their heart. THANK YOU JCFS for allowing all aged children to celebrate the holiday. THANK YOU JCFS for allowing me to be a better person and for giving me and my family things I never ever expected to receive through giving.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been fortunate to find not just one, but 3 incredible therapists for our child through JCFS. We started our therapy journey for our daughter through early intervention, and were disappointed in many of the therapists we had. By luck we found an OT through JCFS, who then referred us to a new SLP and DT -- all of whom have done miraculous things with our daughter. By believing in her potential and abilities despite her significant physical disabilities, they have helped her blossom both in skills and in confidence. And they have been indispensable in helping outside of therapy sessions as well; helping with IEPs, bringing outside knowledge to our attention, and other supportive efforts. The clinic staff is also wonderful, welcoming our daughter by name at the start of every visit.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has benefitted greatly from the amazing treatement, care and services provided by JCFS. They have become extended family members and show true concern for my daughter's well being. I highly recommend JCFS and commend their staff on the excellent work they do every day to help children in need!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am continuously impressed with the staff at JCFS, and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in therapy services for their kids. The therapists are knowledgable, warm, friendly and excellent at communicating with both the kids and parents.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the experiences my family has had with JCFS. They have provided speech, developmental, and occupational therapy for my children. The therapists are professional and truly care about their clients. I recommend JCFS highly!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Jewish Child & Family Services is a great organization. They offer comprehensive non judgmental help. Great organization.

1 Michelle119

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a wonderful experience with JCFS and a trusted counselor Rick Simon and his supervisor Deanna Shoss when we took in 4 foster nephews/niece. They literally helped us get through this mind boggling experience. We couldn't have done it without them! Their words of wisdom and encouragement to us all ... still help us (hopefully) to be better parents today! Truly a special place in our hearts! The kids still talk about how much they miss them too!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

JCFS is a great and helpful place for so many people and people of different ages. I love being involved there and will continue to be!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

JCFS is a wonderful agency that offers an array of services to the community. I recommend this agency for your needs.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

JCFS is the best. Everyone is caring, halpful, and friendly. Without their help I don't know where I would be right now. They have helped me in every aspect of my life. THANK YOU AiLL. - TRACY

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with JCFS for nearly 4 years as a board member. Prior to that I was a donor. I remain in awe in the dedication of the staff, the board, and the volunteers who serve the clients with care and kindness and are constantly looking for ways to improve the experiences. An example is two of our board members donated their time and energy to help in the creation of a life skills center to help our students who needed to learn how to cook simple meals, do simple home tasks, and more. One of these board members helped assess the construction needs and the other one had "shower" which allowed community members to donate the necessary items -- large and small -- to outfit the room. This is just one example of many of the kind of above and beyond folks do to make sure that the community gets the optimal benefit from JCFS's services.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

JCFS is a phenomenal organization that provides vital, individualized, result driven services to improve the lives of 1000's of adults, children and families through the Chicago community each year. What really makes this organization work is the talented, dedicated staff who constantly and consistently go above and beyond. The most recent example is how the staff identified a need in the community to provide some late afternoon programming that would give families who have children with disabilities some additional fun programming that would provide social engagement, nurture general wellness, and further enhance skill building. The program offers art projects, martial arts, tutoring, Jewish studies, basketball and other sports activities to the children with the disabilities, parents, and other children within the family. The program is important because these children don't have access to after school programming due to their special needs, and it allows families to participate and just let loose after a long day, or parents can drop their kids off and take the time as respite. It's thinking like this and programs like this which make JCFS the awesome agency that it is.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Years ago as a new mom living on a social service salary, I desperately needed affordable child care for my son so that I could continue to work full time. Family members on either side were out of town and no one was available for us to tap into. A colleague told me about a wonderful program that JCFS (than JCB) was running offering specialized home daycare to those who qualified at an amazing low cost weekly fee! I made a call, filled out some paperwork and after agreeing to seeing a counselor consistently to discuss early parenting challenges I might be encountering, my son was able to attend a nurturing, home day care environment 5 days a week for the next year and a half! That program was a blessing for me and my family and my child got such loving, consistent care there. I will always be grateful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with JCFS for many years in various programs. I have seen many lives change for the better through the dedicated and well trained staff and volunteers. I feel privileged to be a part of such an amazing organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been on the JCFS board for about 4 years. In that time I've learned about all the wonderful programs and just how many children and families this organization touches. Whether giving parents of special needs kids a well-deserved respite, providing counseling services, assistance to those who just can't make ends meet, a camp for children with disabilities, helping adoptive parents navigate the system, or much more, this organization is vital to the community!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My autistic daughter moved from New York (where she was living with my ex-husband) to Chicago to live with me. I was absolutely overwhelmed and unsure of where to go and what to do regarding services for her. JCFS was a beacon of light that guided the way. Everyone there is professional, friendly and organized! I've had all my questions answered in a timely manner. The organization has been helpful with the confusion of applying for various services with the state and local governments. It's a great network to meet other parents in similar situations.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Jewish Child & Family Services has been such a life saver for our family. They have provided our two special needs children with the most wonderful respite care. We are so very grateful for this truly fantastic organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Glick Family camp has been a home away from home for me. I am currently 18 years old, and my family has been going to the camp for about my entire life, we were one of the original families to go to the first camp. There I have made life long friendships with the other campers. For the first time when I was a child, I could actually be myself because everyone there knew that having someone in your family with a disability is hard and we all understood that. Sib shop growing up there was helpful because we all got to share our feelings and problems and everything about our disabled siblings and we could all give advice to each other how to handle it. My sister is too old now so we cannot go to the camp anymore which I was so upset about, so I worked there this fall. I have had so much experience with working with children and with disabled children as well, so I asked if I could work there. It was an amazing experience, very different than being a camper but still amazing. I overall love the Glick Family Camp and consider everyone that goes a part of my family and love them dearly. We have had some sad things happen to our Glick Family Camp over the years but everyone helps each other through it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the North Shore Auxiliary of the Jewish Child & Family Services for 27 years and this program has been the most fullfilling of all that we have chosen to endow. Upon my first experience with the Respite Take Five weekend is the most memorable. Lori Lavin and I from the board joined them at their weekend event at the Friday night Shabbat dinner. Sitting with the families and realizing that what I have taken for granted in raising my children those famillies with children who have disabilities and children without them in the same household have. Realizing that I can leave my child or children with a babysitter for the evening to go out, these families, just to be with their non-disabled children, need a professional care-giver for their child with disabilities. But what I saw with our staff of professionals is the care and feeding that they give to the entire family unit, which is critical. Each member has a need and our staff addresses those needs through the weekend giving the parents a safe avenue to enjoy their time on their own, and the children given the one-on-one attention that is required. It is such a simple program but has a huge impact on the needs of these families. We wish that it could be expanded to help the many who are on the waiting list through the Jewish Child and Family Services.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Jewish Child and Family Services for perhaps a decade. And it has taken me a decade to get a comfortable understanding of its myriad programs. The one with which i am most enamored is its program to deliver services to Holocaust survivors who need help. Of all of the people in the Chicago community who should not suffer, it is the survivor population and Chicago is blessed with the youngest in the US. I am constantly amazed at the sensitivity with which issues are handled by the staff. Who would have thought twice about how an elderly person would react to a suggestion of being taken to a shower? or how to handle food hidden under beds, just in case. This program is just one example of the many programs whose staff has a compassion and understanding and expertise that blows me away.

Client Served

Rating: 5

JCFS runs a camp called -- "Family Camp" for over a decade now. It happens twice a year and my kids look forward to attending this camp like no other event! As youngsters when they did not have a clue about calendars, they would alert me to an upcoming camp by asking when is camp, and sure enough it was around the corner. This camp has taken the true spirit of its' name -- it has truly become a "FAMILY" camp. Now, everytime when camp comes around and I drive onto the hallowed camp grounds, my oldest shouts --"I am HOME!" Initially, I was taken aback, but it makes sense because he feels this connection to this camp since he has been coming to it from 3 years of age and he is a 16 yr. old High Schooler now. It is the atmosphere in this camp, the people that make this camp, the families and children that come to this camp, the special sights and smells in this place make it so SPECIAL! I have been blessed with rest, peace, sleep, joy and fun when I come here as a parent. My kids love the other kids, respite workers, staff, families, children and youth. They talk, play, socialize, run, horse-play, swim, eat, sleep and enjoy the wonderful company of unique, diverse, caring, understanding and compassionate individuals so much so that they go home and crash after a spent weekend! This camp has been a blessing to us as a family and has given us wonderful memories that we carry in our heads and hearts for a lifetime. When we come to this camp, we get filled up with all the things we need, until it is time to be replenished again! Thank you for this most unique and wonderful program! (R,N,Z,S)

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

JCFS provides incredibly holistic services to their clients. Their attention to the individual needs of each family is incredible. it is rare to find professionals in the disability field that are not burnt out and continue to care so deeply and give great thought to the growing demands of all families. The staff also continue to make changes to their programming to reflect the evolving needs of families and the disability field. They work tirelessly, committed to serving families from all cultural and socio-econmic means.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are a family that adopted a son with a severe brain malormation resulting in cerebral palsy and other medical/developmental issues. We learned about the JCFS disability camp through another parent at our son's therapy clinic. We've attended the JCFS family camp twice and love it! The staff is warm and welcoming and accepting of the children. They encourage the kids to try new things in a safe and accepting environment. Our son loves the enw friends he makes there. As parents, we love to see our son enjoy htese new experiences. We also enjoy the social worker who leads the parent discussion sessions, and the time with other parents who walk in our shoes. We love JCFS!!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

The JCFS school works miracles! As a board member, I've had the privilege of attending a number of graduations at the JCFS school. At first, it seems like every other graduation . . . . students, clad in caps and gowns, walk to the front. Remarks are made. Diplomas are passed out. Students, parents, and teachers celebrate. But in reality, this is no typical graduation. Each student came to the school because they failed out of every other environment in which they had been. Many tried several schools and this was the last ditch effort by their parents. Each student stood at the podium and offered their own personal story -- each more touching than the next. One student spoke of going on to college to become a writer. Another spoke of going to vocational school. Another dreamed of opening his own store. And another spoke about giving back to the community by helping other kids. What is amazing is that many of these kids had no dreams when they came to the JCFS school. Their behavior was so bad and so disruptive, the police had to be called nearly every day to intervene. Today, they stood before the audience as outstanding members of society. They knew they entered the school in a bad place and they had gradually, and often painfully, worked through many of their issues. Each student profusely thanked their teachers and counselors. They so appreciated the continued dedication to their education, their development, and their future. There was not a dry eye in the auditorium. Afterwards, many parents came up to me to thank the school and the agency for everything we had done for their child. They told stories of how their son or daughter was failing out of school and life. The parents had lost all hope as they had tried everything. The JCFS school was often a last resort. And the parents could not have been happier with the result. Ironically, while the teachers and staff always believed in the kids, the parents never thought they would see the day that their child would graduate. Graduation was literally a miracle in their mind. The JCFS school is truly amazing.

Client Served

Rating: 4

The first time I had a program through JCFS was the Glick Family Camp. Being a single parent of a special needs time I really needed the time to connect with other families and have the comfort of knowing my son was being cared for one on one. I enjoyed it so much that the next Glick Family Camp I told several of my friends and they all joined me. I have also had the opportunity to join one of their family workshops. The guest speakers were so knowledgeable and friendly. I have always had a wonderful time with JCFS.

Sagemama

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family came to this organization in 2002 when we were looking for a preschool for our developmentally delayed son. He was accepted into the daily program at Virginia Frank Therapeutic Nursery and we received support as a couple and family as we were dealing with our other son's chronic illness and a very high risk pregnancy. We were at our breaking point when we found listening ears and open arms at Jewish Child and Family Services. My son attended the Therapeutic Nursery for three years. During that time we received support for our marriage, counseling and testing for both of our sons and advocacy during his IEP. The folks there were crucial in getting my son an excellent placement in a wonderful school that met his needs perfectly. My son continues to have play therapy at Virginia Frank Center and our whole family has sessions to improve our communication around continued stressors like my son's developmental issues and my other boys' ongoing health issues. We are deeply grateful for the kindness and support we have received. We were encouraged, supported and treated with great understanding and respect. I especially appreciated the respect for our religious values and alternative lifestyle. No assumptions were made about us, and that had not been our experience at other places. Our strengths as a family were reinforced and built upon as opposed to being told were were 'doing it wrong.' It is so easy to feel isolated and alone when dealing with your children's special needs. We can never say thank you enough to the wonderful people at Jewish Child and Family Services.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family came to Virginia Frank in 2002 when we were looking for a preschool for our developmentally delayed son. He was accepted into the daily program and we received support as a couple and family as we were dealing with our other son's chronic illness and a very high risk pregnancy. We were at our breaking point when we found listening ears and open arms at Jewish Family Services. My son attended the Therapeutic Nursery for three years. During that time we received support for our marriage, counseling and testing for both of our sons and advocacy during his IEP. The folks there were crucial in getting my son an excellent placement in a wonderful school that met his needs perfectly. My son continues to have play therapy at Virginia Frank Center and our whole family has sessions to improve our communication around continued stressors like my son's developmental issues and my other boys' ongoing health issues. We are deeply grateful for the kindness and support we have received. We were encouraged, supported and treated with great understanding and respect. I especially appreciated the respect for our religious values and alternative lifestyle. No assumptions were made about us, and that had not been our experience at other places. Our strengths as a family were reinforced and built upon as opposed to being told were were 'doing it wrong.' It is so easy to feel isolated and alone when dealing with your children's special needs. We can never say thank you enough to the wonderful people at Jewish Child and Family Services.