Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies Offers Groundbreaking Training That Equips Parents to Better Help Anxious Children | Shalom Austin

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies Offers Groundbreaking Training That Equips Parents to Better Help Anxious Children

Jewish Family Service, The Jewish Outlook

Dec 20, 2022

Amid a longstanding youth mental health crisis exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) is offering its member human service agencies a new way to help young people with mental health concerns  — by giving their parents the tools to do so.

Individual therapy is widely assumed to be the standard of care for mental health challenges, yet it is often not available to young people due to the constraints of their school schedules and a national shortage of clinicians trained to work with them. To address these challenges, NJHSA is offering training and implementation support of the SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) program developed by Dr. Eli Lebowitz of the Yale Child Study Center. SPACE is a parent-based treatment program for children and teenagers with anxiety, OCD, and related problems. Randomized controlled clinical trials have proven the program is as effective as individual treatment with youth.

NJHSA is providing SPACE training to clinicians at 33 member agencies*, divided into two cohorts, who will learn from Dr. Lebowitz about how to work with parents to help their children overcome mental health challenges by responding supportively to their child while reducing well-intentioned but counter-productive measures.

After the trainings in December and March, participating agencies will receive a financial grant to support their implementation of the model in their communities. Trained clinicians will also meet monthly with Tricia Stern, NJHSA Vice President of Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services, to develop a community of practice for case discussion and sharing resources and best practices.

“The SPACE program addresses challenges that our member agencies are facing by being able to work directly with parents in a way that supports youth without the scheduling limitations of individual therapy. The model also meets the needs of parents who want to help their children be less anxious but don’t know how,” said Ms. Stern. “SPACE teaches parents how to change their own behavior in ways that will benefit their children. That’s the genius of the program, and that’s why we’re so thrilled to be able to offer this program to clinicians throughout North America.”

Crown Family Philanthropies, Jim Joseph Foundation and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation provided funding for this program through the BeWell initiative, a partnership of NJHSA and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (The Network)

The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies is an international membership association of more than 150 nonprofit human service agencies in the United States, Canada, and Israel. Its members provide a full range of human services for the Jewish community and beyond, including healthcare, career, employment and mental health services, as well as programs for youth, families and seniors, Holocaust survivors, immigrants and refugees, persons with disabilities and caregivers. The Network serves as the leading voice for the Jewish human service sector. As the go-to resource for advocacy, best practices, innovation and research, partnerships and collaborations, The Network strengthens agencies so they can better serve their communities. Visit for more information.

*Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Palm Beach County, FL; Collat Jewish Family Services, Birmingham, AL; Jewish Community Services of South Florida, Miami; Jewish Family & Career Services Atlanta; Jewish Child & Family Services, Chicago; Jewish Family & Career Services Louisville; Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Minneapolis; Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Northern NJ; Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia; Jewish Family & Children Services of San Francisco and the Bay Area; Jewish Family & Community Services Pittsburgh; Jewish Family & Child Service, Portland, OR; Jewish Child & Family Service, Winnipeg, Canada; Jewish Family Service of the Cincinnati Area; Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas; Jewish Family Service Houston; Jewish Family Service of Colorado; Jewish Family Services of Greater Charlotte; JFS of Greater Harrisburg LLC, PA; Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City; Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans; Jewish Family Services of Greenwich; Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit; Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ; Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI; Jewish Family Services, Rochester NY; Jewish Family Service San Antonio; Jewish Family Service Seattle; Jewish Social Service Agency (Rockville, MD); Shalom Austin JFS; Shalom Tikvah, Baltimore, MD; Westchester Jewish Community Services, White Plains, NY

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