In 1983 the Association for Jewish Children (AJC) and Jewish Family Service (JFS) merged to become today’s Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia.
The roots of AJC can be traced back to 1855 when philanthropist and Jewish educator Rebecca Gratz founded its predecessor agency, the Jewish Foster Home, the first institution in the country to care for Jewish children. The Home merged with several Jewish children’s service organizations and the Association for Jewish Children was formed in 1941.
JFS began in 1869 as United Hebrew Charities, and was established to provide food, clothing, fuel, medical assistance, and other aid to those in need. By 1920, the agency had evolved from a largely volunteer organization to a professional organization with trained social workers. By 1948, when the agency became Jewish Family Service of Philadelphia, it offered counseling, homemaker help, services for older adults, a volunteer program, and Jewish family life education.
Since both AJC and JFS were serving children and families, the two organizations merged to become JFCS, one comprehensive agency serving individuals, children, and families through all phases of the lifecycle.