Sharing the JAFCO Model
JAFCO (Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options) provides a much needed service, one that may be overlooked or denied to exist within our Jewish community locally and around the country – namely finding homes for abused and neglected Jewish children. Currently, over 350 abused and neglected children are being served by JAFCO through our Family Preservation, Foster Care and Adoption and Mentoring programs in addition to our Jewish Children’s Village where 50 children actually live in either our Emergency Children’s Shelter or in one of our six Group Homes. JAFCO has created a model child welfare program to help families in the Jewish community deal with serious issues related to mental health, substance abuse and family problems such as divorce, domestic abuse, incarceration, terminal illness and parental death due to drug overdose. The JAFCO Jewish Children’s Village in Sunrise, Florida remains the only one of its kind in the Jewish community in the nation but could easily be applied to any Jewish community.
As part of our long term strategic plan, JAFCO hopes to share the model we have created with other communities in the nation. As part of our initial efforts to raise awareness about child abuse in the Jewish community in the Northeast we have opened JAFCO Northeast Development office serving PA, NY, and NJ. Many of our current donors spend half their year up north and others have friends and family in these areas. The Northeast office will allow them and others to be part of the grassroots efforts to educate the Northern community about child abuse within the Jewish community and the lifesaving work JAFCO is providing. Directing this effort full time from the JAFCO Philadelphia office is JAFCO employee Rana Bell, Director of Northeast Development. Her goals in this life saving effort are as follows:
- To educate all Jewish communities about child abuse in the Jewish community and move people from denial to a sense of awareness and concern.
- To continue our South Florida grass roots efforts by building “Friends of JAFCO” chapters locally in the Northeast that will raise awareness, funds and in kind gifts for existing JAFCO programs through special events, parlor meetings and community meetings.
- To assess the unmet child welfare needs of the Northeast Jewish community in the following areas of JAFCO expertise: foster care, adoption, family preservation, emergency shelter, group homes, independent living and mentoring.
- To ensure that we are caring for each and every abused Jewish child in our nation as part of our responsibility as Jews, regardless of where they are from and where they are living and to realize that each and every JAFCO child has been in serious danger at some point in their lives. To lose even one child would be a tragedy.
- To work towards a long term goal once community support and funding exists to replicate the JAFCO model in the Northeast.
Currently, although the children physically reside in Florida, it is not uncommon to learn that the family and often the child themselves actually originates from the Philadelphia, New York or New Jersey area and we are happy to serve them. At JAFCO we care first about saving the life of a child, it is less important to us where they are from. Our grassroots Northeast efforts are looking for like-minded donors and child activists who care deeply about children and are interesting in improving the quality of state funded child welfare services that are often less than adequate. To become involved and to make this world a better place for our children, please call Rana Bell at 610-397-8688.