County Awards JFS Nearly $9 Million for Prevention and Early Intervention Mental Health Services

JFS to begin offering child behavior and development programs

San Diego County has awarded Jewish Family Service with a seven-year, nearly $9 million grant to provide prevention and early intervention mental health services to thousands of parents, caregivers, families, and educators of children ages zero through five. Termed Positive Parenting, the program will be delivered through a multitude of child behavior and development programs offered by specially-trained and experienced JFS instructors, tailored to the needs of parents, caregivers, families, and educators. 

According to Cheryl Alexander, JFS’s Director of Parenting and Youth Services, the program offers crucial skills and community resources to those working closely with children so that their interactions are healthy, productive, and in the child’s best interest. 

“The goal of the Positive Parenting program,” said Alexander, “is to help parents, caregivers, families and educators strengthen their skills in promoting the development, growth, health, and social competence of young children.”

Positive Parenting programs will take place at San Diego’s public schools and Head Start sites, where government-sponsored preschool programs are offered free of charge to those meeting income eligibility requirements. Alexander noted that families targeted for the program often have multiple barriers to successful parenting, including high incidences of unemployment or domestic violence; histories of neglect or other forms of child abuse; and low-income, single-parent and/or young military households. The program also provides access to other critical JFS services such as the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry, Crisis Case Management, Counseling, Project SARAH, Economic Crisis Response support groups, and case management. 

JFS was awarded this contract based on its success working in local school districts and government agencies and educating the community on creating and sustaining healthy home and learning environments for children. The program is funded by San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Division of Mental Health.

“JFS fills a needed gap in the care of children in preventing these high-risk children from falling through the cracks,” said Alexander.

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