A Greater Reach

A Greater Reach

JCFS Chicago’s Outpatient Behavioral Health/Psychological Services has expanded its relationship with REACH, (Resources for Educational Achievement, Collaboration and Health), and now our clinicians are providing school counseling services within Jewish day schools.

For over a decade, REACH has allocated funds to support psychological evaluations for students who are referred to JCFS by Jewish day schools, said JCFS’ Senior Director, Outpatient Behavioral Health/Psychological Services Dr. Alysa Slay. But in the fall of 2023, REACH and Outpatient Behavioral Health grew their partnership to support sending our clinicians into five Jewish day schools in the Chicago area, Dr. Slay said.

JCFS clinicians spend time every week in the Jewish day schools, providing counseling to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

“The schools are having a positive experience with our clinicians,” Dr. Slay said. “And it sounds like they appreciate that not only are we sending clinicians there, but the clinicians are actually tied to our agency to support them.”

Darby Spector, LPC is one of the JCFS clinicians that works in the schools through the REACH partnership. She counsels 15 students in three of the Jewish day schools.

“It’s been nice to get a different flavor of counseling outside of the office,” Darby said. “Going into the school, seeing the students in their own environment versus an office environment definitely gives the clinician a different perspective on things.”

She said she is pleased that the schools recognized the need for in-school mental health services.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Darby said. “I’m really happy the schools have decided to partner with JCFS and that they’re taking the steps to get the students the help they need, meeting them where they are. This makes counseling more accessible for families, when it takes place in the school setting. It’s flexible, and there’s no payment on the parents’ end – it’s a free service.”

The program ends when the school year is over, but the schools can re-enroll in the services for the coming year. Parents can also call JCFS at 855.275.5237 and have their children continue therapy through our counseling services over the summer.