Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

JFS { Ask The Expert

Do you need advice about an aging parent? Are you struggling with depression? Are you having trouble communicating with your teenager? JFS is here to help.

For more than 150 years, JFS has led the community in providing high quality social services and professional care. Our trained staff can provide guidance on issues related to older adults, children, teens, addiction, mental health, trauma, nutrition, abuse and disablities.

We welcome your questions. Personal information, including names, will be kept confidential.

Write to us at

RSS Feed
Educating Others About Domestic Violence

“I’m a teacher for a public high school in Pasadena, and lately I’ve noticed many young couples in my class fighting in the hallway. I often see young women showing up for school with bruises, and I am worried that they don’t know their options when it comes to getting out of an abusive relationship. I was wondering if JFS had a program where a staff member could come out to our school and educate the students about domestic violence.”


Haven House, a program of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, is dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence through educating the community.  This includes education in schools, clubs, churches, synagogues, agencies, recovery programs and any other interested organization. We offer a Teen Dating Violence & Healthy Relationships workshop, given in one or two hour segments, which provides an opportunity for young people to learn about teen dating violence and healthy relationships. Our staff is more than happy to come to your school and start educating your students about how to identify and stop abusive behavior and domestic violence. Please contact Haven House at 626.564.8880 to learn more.

Can JFS Help Me Help My Son?

“My 20-year old son is a high-functioning autistic young man who lives with us at home. With a combination of therapy and medication, he is doing great, but my heart aches for him because he doesn’t have any friends. I was hoping JFS could help put me in touch with a group or program where he could meet people around his age who have similar challenges. It would be wonderful if he could start making his own friends!”


You’re in luck! JFS does indeed have such a program – we are very proud of JFS { Chaverim, our social/recreational club for adults with developmental disabilities. Chaverim meets weekly in the city and the San Fernando Valley, is staffed by trained JFS professional staff and volunteers, and includes such activities as bowling, movies, dinner outings, art classes, and field trips all around Los Angeles. Please contact Gerry Dicker at 818.464.3360 or to learn more about Chaverim - it sounds as though your son would be a perfect fit!



Dear JFS,

Times are a little rough for my family right now. My husband lost his job earlier this year, and we've been mostly living off savings and the little I can bring home from my part-time job. Between rent, gas, car repairs, and other expenses that come up, I'm having trouble finding money to put food on the table for our three young boys. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I think we need some help.

Does JFS have any programs or services that can help us out?

--Worried in Hancock Park

There's no need to be ashamed. It sounds like our SOVA Community Food & Resource Program will be a big help to you and your family.

Through SOVA, JFS provides free groceries and supportive services to more than 10,000 individuals of all ages, ethnicities and religions each month. SOVA has three comprehensive service centers located throughout the greater Los Angeles area, so odds are, you're not too far from us.

Every family is allowed to come to SOVA once each calendar month for an emergency 5-day supply of food. After completing your enrollment as a SOVA client, we will submit your first grocery order, and a volunteer will then explain what food we have available so you can choose the foods you and your family will like.

We have a wide variety of canned and packaged goods such as meats, fish, soup, vegetables, fruit, juice, rice, beans, pasta, cereals, and bread. Because balanced nutrition is important, we carry a wide variety of fresh produce – items such as apples, oranges, bananas, lettuce, carrots, potatoes and onions. And, whenever possible, we include fresh meat, poultry, and dairy products, including milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese.

If your family has any special dietary restrictions - for example, low-sodium, low-sugar, kosher, or vegetarian - we will do our best to satisfy those needs.

SOVA also has a Resource Center on site where you can learn about the other JFS programs and services that may be of assistance to you and your family, including:

  • Medical and Health Services
  • Dental and Vision Services
  • Utility Bill Assistance
  • Clothing and Furnishings
  • Housing and Shelters
  • Financial Aid
  • Legal Services
  • Employment and Job Training
  • Food Stamps
  • Child Care and Family Services
  • Senior Services
  • Immigration Issues
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Government Programs
  • Drug/Alcohol Rehab

We want you to leave feeling secure, safe, and optimistic about the future. To that end, we can also provide you with:

Food Stamp & MediCal Enrollment:  Employees from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) are available in our pantries 1-2 times each week to assist get the government benefits to which you may be qualified.

Legal Counseling: Each week, skilled legal professionals from Bet Tzedek are in our pantry sites providing free assistance with a wide range of legal questions and problems. (Advance appointment required)

Job Counseling: If you need assistance finding employment, writing a resume' or developing your interviewing skills, experienced counselors from Jewish Vocational Services are at our pantries twice weekly to assist you.

Nutrition and Dietary Counseling: A poor quality diet can lead to a range of health issues including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Our on-site dietitian can help you avoid these by helping you select a more nutritious, healthful diet.
Bottom line is, we're here to help. JFS cares about you and your family -- you're not alone. Click here for hours of operation, location information, and more.

Home Secure??

My mother, who recently turned 85 years old, has been moving a lot slower these days, and last week, she told me she fell while taking a shower. She's fine, but that gave us a scare -- I live across the country and am not able to be there with her as often as I'd like. I was hoping that JFS might have a program or service that could help us ensure that she is safe and comfortable in her home.

Home Secure services is available to low-income homeowners or renters who are seniors (62+) or disabled individuals living within the cities of Los Angeles, Culver, and Burbank.

Home Secure provides safety devices such as grab bars for the bathroom, handheld shower hoses, adjustable shower chairs, automatic night-lights, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. The most requested service is the installation of grab bars for the bathroom. A typical installation for the bathroom is one by the wall closest to the toilet/commode, one by the entrance of the tub/shower, and one inside the tub/shower enclosure.

Home Secure frequently receives calls from out of state families or friends on behalf of clients living in Los Angeles.  The application process for home modifications can be done by phone or email, and it is a fairly simple process.

Anyone living within the city of Los Angeles can request Home Secure services.  JFS covers council districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 (West of La Brea), 11, and 12.  If the client does not live within the council districts we serve, Home Secure can refer them to the right service provider.

In addition, Home Secure is proud to introduce their new service, Beverly Hills Handyworker Program, which launched earlier this year. Through the program, low-income Beverly Hills residents (owners or renters) of any age can request home repair services that do not require building permits. Some examples may include painting, installation of ramps, minor plumbing, etc.

Web Worries

Dear JFS,

My teenager spends four or more hours a day on the Internet.  Should I be concerned? A Worried Dad

Dear Worried Dad,

For many young people—and their parents—the Internet has become a problem.  According to a recent survey of 1,000 Los Angeles area Jewish high school students, 50% are online 14 to 35 hours a week. 

The amount of time they spend online, though, is not the only issue. The most significant issue is safety.  At any given time, there are 50,000 predators online.  If a child isn't knowledgeable about protecting his/her personal information, it's easy for a predator to strike up an online conversation, befriend the child and arrange a meeting.

Visiting appropriate sites is also an issue.  30% of the students regularly check out pornography, but also admit they are not comfortable doing so.  Gambling sites also attract young people:  The survey revealed 25% of the teens admitted to gambling on the Web.  Though persons under 21 cannot legally gamble in California, sites evade this by having their servers outside the United States.

Even sites that may not seem questionable, like, can be dangerous.  Feeling they are "anonymous," young people can write things about themselves that they would never write to someone they knew, as well as post suggestive photos on these sites.  The root of this behavior is their adolescent need to stand out or to "one-up" each other. 

Cyber-bullying is also an issue, one that is especially serious among girls.  Kids ridicule and trash each other online, along with spreading rumors and making threats.  Victims of these attacks may become scared to go to school.  The bottom line is that kids should be socializing with their friends, not staring at a monitor four hours a day.

So, how can parents can take control???? First of all, safety first!  The Internet virtually makes it possible for a stranger to enter your child's bedroom.  Make sure your child knows not to give out his/her name, address, phone number, school or anything else online that could identify him/her.  Predators are adept at using scraps of information to connect with vulnerable kids. 

There are several ways you can control the sites your child visits.  For a healthier family life, make sure the computer monitor is in an open area and that all family members use the same computer.  You can restrict the sites your child visits by employing filters, such as that offers a filtering program that blocks access to specific sites.  Also, you can track the sites your child visits by using, a site that monitors all interactions and notifies parents of all visited sites.

Parents, whether tech-savvy or not, must be knowledgeable regarding their child's use of the computer and the Internet.  One of the most striking findings in our survey was the students' complaint that their parents knew almost nothing about their activities on the Internet.  So parents, please—take charge! Debbie Fox Director of Child & Family Services Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

A Concerned New Mom

Dear JFS,

I have dreamed of having my baby for so long. He is beautiful and everyone around me is so happy. I just feel like crying all the time. Will I always feel this way? What can I do to feel better?

--A concerned new mom

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations on the birth of your child! Although this is a happy time in ones life, many women experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of a child.  Approximately 50% - 80% of women experience “baby blues” which commonly begin soon after birth and usually resolve within about ten days. 

Symptoms are characterized by sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, irritability, fatigue and increased sensitivity.  About 15 to 20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety which need intervention.   With informed care you can prevent a worsening of these symptoms and can fully recover. There is no reason to continue to suffer. 

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself:

1. Get enough rest, exercise and make sure you eat healthy foods The impact of prolonged sleep deprivation can be devastating. Sometimes, even an hour nap can make a big difference. Taking a walk with your baby and making sure you eat and drink enough are simple ways you can help yourself.

2. Educate yourselfUnderstanding the signs and symptoms of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder can help you and a family member know when you need the help of a medical professional.

3. Find support Support may come from a loving friend or family member, a support group or a healthcare professional. JFS offers support for new moms throughout the greater Los Angeles area. For a referral in your area, contact  the JFS New Moms Connect program at  323 . 761 . 8800 x1028 or

Call us or write us, we are here to help! Gabrielle Kaufman, MA,BC-DMT,NCC Coordinator, New Moms Connect Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles


Need Help? Start with JFS Central Access (877) 275-4537
©2017 JFS. All rights reserved. Register or Login  |  Contact  |  Privacy  Site Map  JFS CARE site


Social services for Nazi victims have been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
JFSLA receives funds from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Holocaust Survivor Emergency Assistance Fund, administered by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for the benefit of needy Jewish Nazi victims.
Funds have been provided by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for the Emergency Assistance Program for Nazi Victims at the discretion of the United States District Court supervising the lawsuit In Re: Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks).

Certified in:
Case Management
Community Housing (mental health - our shelters)
Outpatient Treatment: Mental health (adults, children, and adolescents)