Federation to merge senior services into one agency by December 1

Federation consolidates senior services

Marshall Weiss

The Dayton Jewish Observer

Consolidation will expand services for growing local elderly population

In September, the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton agreed to merge Covenant House and Jewish Family Services into the Dayton Area Jewish Senior Service Agency. This new agency of the Federation, to begin operations by Dec. 1, was formed upon the recommendation of the Federation’s Senior Services Task Force.

According to task force chair Elaine Bettman, the Senior Service Agency will provide coordination and oversight of all services to the frail elderly and seniors in need.

“There will be one centralized intake point for any senior needing information, referrals, resources or services,” she said.

As part of this new plan, the Dayton Jewish Community Center will focus its senior programs and services specifically toward the active senior population.

“The Senior Service Agency will more efficiently provide programs and services for the frail elderly and seniors in need,” said Federation Executive Vice President Larry R. Skolnick. “And Covenant House will continue providing services to its current demography.

“Covenant House will continue its nursing-home care, and the new agency will take over JFS services including senior outreach, the Schear Family Chore Service, bereavement counseling, emergency services, and friendly visiting. The DJCC will continue its lunch-and-learns, mah jongg, Bingo, trips, and classes.”

The Federation’s senior lunch program, senior transportation and home-delivered meals will be streamlined and supervised by the new agency.

Bettman said the task force met over 18 months to ascertain which senior services are essential to the Miami Valley’s Jewish community and how to most effectively deliver them.

Eliminating under-used JFS services
Two services of JFS that will not continue under the merger will be counseling and adoption.
“JFS provided counseling for a very small number of clients, using a subcontractor,” Bettman said. “The new agency will refer counseling clients other than seniors to other resources in the community.”

She also noted that the JFS adoption program hadn’t served a member of the Jewish community in six years.

“All continuing JFS non-senior services will be staffed by a part-time social worker housed at the Federation’s offices in the Soin Building,” Bettman said. “Federation aims to ultimately form a Jewish Agency for Children and Family Services at some point in the future.”

Search for new director
The Federation has begun a search for a director of Jewish community senior services to oversee the new agency.

Covenant House’s day-to-day operations will continue to be managed by its own professional staff and clinicians.

“The director of senior services will be expected to develop a plan of action for new program and service delivery models to seniors, and for the growth and expansion of services and service revenue,” Skolnick said. “We realize that this may result in an additional financial investment on the part of the Federation. Services to seniors are now the pressing need in our community and we are here to meet this need.”

Skolnick added that Federation Vice President of Programs and Services Bill Franklin has agreed to serve as the first chair of the new agency.

© 2006 The Dayton Jewish Observer

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