At JFCS, we offer what are known as wraparound services, or services that address many aspects of a child or family’s life. These wraparound services extend to our schools, supporting students through a wide range of programs. In this article, we take a look at the ways JFCS extends crucial support to students in our community, so they can thrive and pave the way for a brighter future.
Achievers for Life
Since its selection by the United Way of Northeast Florida in 2007, JFCS has been actively engaged in Achievers for Life (AFL), an initiative aimed at supporting academically at-risk middle school students. In collaboration with Communities in Schools and Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), AFL is a voluntary program that intervenes in the lives of 6th-grade students and their families who show early warning signs of academic failure and dropping out.
JFCS, serving as the lead agency for program administration, provides comprehensive services to students and families in ten Duval County public middle schools: Arlington, Fort Caroline, Northwestern, Matthew W. Gilbert, Highlands, Ribault, Charger Academy, Westside, Stilwell, and Butler. AFL Family Advocates offers assessment, case management, parent engagement activities, and referrals for family stabilization services – and the results speak volumes, with 98% of students successfully promoted to the next grade level.
At-Hope Youth & Family Advocacy Program
Similar to AFL, students in the At-Hope Youth & Family Advocacy program also receive vital support from Family Advocates. The At-Hope Youth & Family Advocacy Program provides a lifeline to youth with civil citations or diversion sanctions, guiding them and their families towards a path of responsible choices and a crime-free future. Youth in the program are often referred through Teen Court and the Partnership for Child Health; they continue their education in public schools while receiving support from the program. The At-Hope Youth & Family Advocacy Program currently serves 40 students in Duval County, and after participating in the program, 98% of youth have not re-entered the criminal justice system (re-offended).
Education, Partnership, Inclusion and Counseling (E.P.I.C.) is a program provided by JFCS in two local Jewish schools, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and DuBow Preschool, that integrates pivotal support services into classrooms. Through E.P.I.C., inclusion specialists, school counselors, and teachers address students’ full spectrum of needs. This includes identifying young children who may need early intervention to preparing students for high school.
In E.P.I.C., staff collaborate in providing academic and social-emotional support and creating accommodation plans such as Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Education Plans when needed. Last year, 44 students with special needs received inclusion services to enrich their learning experience and ensure individualized support tailored to their unique needs and abilities.
Satellite Food Pantries
JFCS operates satellite food pantries at three Duval County public schools – Beauclerc Elementary, Riverside High School, and Andrew Jackson High School – as well as Inspire to Rise Community Center. Our pantries provide much-needed support for children and their families facing food insecurity. Volunteers play a critical role in assembling food bags, which are delivered (often by volunteers) to each pantry. Students can access their school’s pantry by visiting the front office so they can shop for essential items to support themselves and their families. Many students come to school wondering when their next meal will be, and our satellite pantries help ensure that they have access to nutritious food. Last year, our satellite food pantries served 4,560 students and community members.
Full Service Schools
Our Full Service Schools (FSS) program works to positively impact the mental health of Arlington area students. Within the school feeder pattern, 440 children received individual, family, and group counseling this past year from JFCS therapists. Additionally, 500 students participated in mindfulness and social-emotional learning group activities through FSS, fostering a wraparound approach to well-being within our schools.
Strategic Early Education and Development Support (SEEDS)
JFCS, in collaboration with the University of North Florida, the Florida Institute of Education, and other local and state partners, recently introduced the Strategic Early Education and Development Support (SEEDS) program for preschool-aged children across six Duval County early learning centers. This brand-new initiative offers a comprehensive approach to supporting children and their families, including a literacy curriculum, parent education, and essential wraparound support.
Jax Preschool SEEDS focuses on vital cognitive, social, and emotional markers crucial for a child’s future success. University of North Florida students deliver a tailored literacy curriculum twice a week while JFCS Family Advocates provide personalized case management within partnered schools. Since its October pilot, Jax Preschool SEEDS has served 15+ families in Duval County, with plans for significant impact over the next three years.
Whether we are inside our buildings or out in the field, JFCS works with Jacksonville students every day. Some students require additional support through programs like E.P.I.C. while others need to bring food home for their families. Whatever the situation, we can help build a safe and healthy environment for our children to flourish, and our wraparound services make this possible.