Intake and Resource Connection: A trusting voice at JFCS’ front door

At JFCS, we like to stress that we are the first place people call for help when they are facing a challenge. However, even people who are aware JFCS provides assistance in a multitude of areas are often unsure what to ask for when they call us. The good news is they don’t have to know – thanks to our hardworking staff in the Intake and Resource Connection (IRC) program, all they have to do is call our main number and they’ll be led in the right direction.


The IRC at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis is our first response to requests for help. A team of clinically trained professionals work to connect you with appropriate resources at JFCS or elsewhere in the community. All calls are confidential.


“It’s sort of the front door to the agency,” said Carole Cera, IRC Program Manager. “We have clinical staff to assess what the best fit for the caller’s needs would be.” Many clients are in distress when they call JFCS – our IRC staff members are trained in de-escalating situations and each have master-level degrees in clinical services.


JFCS has programs in areas such as Aging Services, Career Services, Children and Family Services, Counseling and Mental Health Services, Financial Assistance and Food Security and we are able to serve each of our clients holistically. A client may call about his/her elderly mother needing transportation assistance and discover we offer many more services that help seniors live independently. Another may call about career assistance and discover JFCS can help his family obtain healthy food.


“You don’t have to spend time worrying about what to ask for,” said Judy Marcus, IRC Program Coordinator. “Just share your story and we’ll be more than happy to guide you.”


The IRC staff are the first contacts clients make with JFCS and are trusting voices on the other end of the line. Marcus said when clients can trust them, they feel better about all the programs JFCS offers.


She added that individuals who are concerned about a family or friend who is refusing to seek help themselves should feel comfortable contacting the IRC too. “Callers often want advice on how to handle things,” she said. “We see these callers as our clients. We want to share knowledge and resources with them so that they will feel empowered to help their loved one.”


Our IRC staff will always return client calls within at least two business days, but it’s usually within one business day and often within just a couple hours. Many clients have been pleasantly surprised by the quick response time, as it is not always their experience at other agencies, said Danielle Rodin, Intake Counselor.


Cera said organizations as large as JFCS need an Intake and Resource Connection program – otherwise clients are in danger of getting bounced around on the phone, which is the last thing they need when they are trying to receive help.


“The IRC is a way to serve them holistically,” Cera said. “When you’re in distress, you don’t want to make five calls. You want to make one call and have it all taken care of.”


If you or someone you know needs assistance, call us at 952-546-0616.