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Helping Children in Foster Care

Young women in foster care receive the physical, emotional and educational support they need to transition into adult life through a Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options’ (JAFCO) program supported by a Federation Women’s Impact Initiative Grant. The initiative, Creating Successful Transitions for Jewish Females in Foster Care, helps adolescents and young women ages 12-24 navigate the challenges of growing up. Life coaches begin working with JAFCO residents when they turn 12, developing individualized transition plans and providing consistent support and training as they move into adulthood. The grant aims to ensure the women graduate from high school.

“We teach leadership and independent living, and support all of their needs along the path to becoming productive, independent young women,” explained Sarah Franco, JAFCO Executive Director. Franco proudly recalled a JAFCO client who was adopted at seven years old and participated in the program. Twelve years later, the 19-year-old is a thriving pre-med student at Florida International University.

A beneficiary agency of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, JAFCO was established in 1992 to provide homes and services to abused and neglected Jewish children in South Florida. To date, JAFCO has helped more than 5,500 children and currently serves more than 450 children and their families in the South Florida community. Its scope of services includes family preservation, foster care and adoption, emergency shelter, group homes, mentoring, independent living and support for families of children with developmental disabilities.

Each year, Federation awards Women’s Impact Initiative Grants to local organizations that inspire and empower Jewish women and girls through programs that focus on social, economic, religious and political equality. For more information about the Women’s Impact Initiative Grant program, contact Dahlia Bendavid at dbendavid@gmjf.org or 786.866.8445.

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