Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) is dedicated to helping people successfully meet the challenges of everyday life. We are a non-profit agency that provides quality, affordable, and accessible social services to Jewish individuals and families in need. JFCS is also responsive to the needs of the broader community on a non-discriminating basis. We place the highest value upon treating people with dignity and respect and are guided by the Jewish tradition of helping people help themselves.
JFCS has had a long and rich tradition of serving the community. The story is one of change and flexibility, reflecting a single goal – to bring help to those members of the community who need it. JFCS is proud of its past, enthusiastic about its future, and in keeping with its long tradition of flexibility and change, has evolved into an Agency that looks very different from its early days.
JFCS’s roots began during World War I when the Camden section of the National Council of Jewish Women met the “welfare and relief” needs of Jewish “indigents” in Camden County. The Great Depression in the early 1930’s gave rise to the Hebrew Ladies Charity. Subsequently, the Hebrew Welfare Society carried on much of the same work until the early 40’s. In the mid 1940’s, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey employed its first professionally trained social worker which marked the beginning of today’s counseling service. In December 1949, the name was changed to Jewish Family Service to be more in tune with the changes in philosophy and thus the nature of the work being carried out by the Agency. Jewish Family Service then became an official Federation department. In October 1993, the Agency then changed its name to Jewish Family and Children’s Service.
The Agency’s evolution reflects the changing ways of dealing with economics, social problems, and emotional problems which families have faced for generations. Acceptance of the concept of public responsibility for basic economic need and the establishment of social insurance and public aid as integral parts of the American social service structure, represent cultural changes which have allowed family service agencies to change their focuses. As a result of this evolution, family agencies focus less on meeting financial needs and more on developing services to deal with personal and social adjustment issues.