March 24, 2014 (Beachwood) – The Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies (AJFCA) recently announced that JFSA Cleveland, the 8th largest Jewish Family Service in the U.S. and Canada, received First Place for Sustained Programming in its KOVOD Awards competition, honoring member agencies for excellence in client services and programming. JFSA Cleveland is receiving this award for its Ascentia Residential programming and services.

Since 1978 JFSA Cleveland’s Ascentia Residential Services has been providing housing and supportive services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness. The program began as a result of national de-institutionalization, when many families were uncertain where their loved ones with mental disabilities would live. Today JFSA Cleveland operates over 60 supported living sites, including five homes and an eleven suite apartment building for adults with mental illness and over 55 sites for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program serves over 160 individuals annually, with an operating budget of nearly $12 million dollars.

To this day, the residential program is flexible to support a variety of residential possibilities and is designed to meet the client and family’s specific needs and wishes. When the program was first established, the standard model of supportive housing was large group homes, serving 8-10 individuals with 24/7 care. Over time, this model of care has evolved into a range of options for families. Today, JFSA Cleveland operates in a variety of settings, including family owned consortiums, single family homes with two, three, and four roommates, apartment rental spaces, separate wings of apartment buildings with shared common space, and an 11 suite apartment building. The amount of staff support provided in these settings is based on the functioning level of clients. JFSA Cleveland is dedicated to empowering and supporting individuals so that they can move towards self-sufficiency, enjoy the most fulfilling life possible, and participate in the life of the community.

AJFCA is a membership association of approximately 125 Jewish family service agencies across the United States and Canada that provide vital services to clients of all ages, faiths and economic backgrounds. The KOVOD Award winners are determined by a panel of judges from the AJFCA and member agencies based on the creativity, content, and overall effectiveness of the submissions.

Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland, a private non-profit organization, serves to strengthen families and individuals in both the Jewish and general communities in Northeast Ohio. Guided by traditional Jewish values of communal responsibility and social justice, JFSA is committed to enhancing every individual’s ability to thrive in our community. For more information on services, go to