At-Risk Teens


We at Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) applaud the article by Steve Lipman (“Brooklyn Center For At-Risk Teens Itself At Risk,” Dec. 24).

JCCA’s staff has had the opportunity to observe the work of Our Place directly, and can attest to the deep compassion of its staff, the high quality of the services and the program’s critical importance to the Orthodox community of Brooklyn. For 188 years, JCCA, a child- and family- services agency that is part of the network of UJA-Federation of New York, has been a leader in working with children, youth and families at risk — especially those who have been abused and neglected and are struggling to establish new lives and families.

Our Place partly served as a model for JCCA’s three-year-old Kew Gardens Hills Youth Center in Central Queens, which, on a nightly basis, serves 30 to 40 high school-aged young men of Ashkenazi and Bukharian Orthodox backgrounds. Like Our Place, JCCA’s Kew Gardens Hills Youth Center was created in direct response to the Orthodox community’s cry for help with the growing numbers of former yeshiva youth who have become disaffected, have no place to fit in their communities, and typically have nowhere to turn for support. For these youth, who struggle with substance abuse, depression and alienation from family and Jewish community, programs like Our Place and JCCA’s Kew Gardens Hills Youth Center offer acceptance, a safe haven from the streets and a bridge back to their communities.

With diminished resources available from public sources, and fewer dollars available from private foundations and startup grants, Our Place and similar programs must look to the generosity and social consciousness of donors within the Jewish community. Without this support the result is inevitable: the doors will be closed to these deeply needy young people forever.

Deborah Perelmuter

Vice President,

Services to the Jewish Community

Jewish Child Care Association

Rabbi Ilan Ginian


Kew Gardens Hills Youth Center

Jewish Child Care Association