Choosing a quality, nurturing preschool or daycare program is often the first major decision parents make for their children. With so many competing priorities—cost, location, curriculum, size of classrooms and more—the process can be overwhelming. The Jewish United Fund of Chicago (JUF) recognizes the complexity of choices and has created extensive resources to guide decision making and ease the financial burden on families.
JUF Right Start, the first program of its kind, was created to increase access to Jewish early childhood programs for Chicago-area families by providing a tuition discount to eligible children attending a Jewish program for the first time.
There are 36 Jewish early childhood centers across the Chicago metropolitan area, each of which creates a warm, loving environment where a child’s natural curiosity is nurtured. Inspired by Jewish values and infused with Jewish learning, these 36 schools are often the first place where a child—and their parents—find their community.
Recognizing that families may be struggling financially going into the 2022-23 school year, JUF Right Start is expanding: Families receiving the full Federal Child Tax Credit may be eligible for matching funds, with a savings of up to $7,200 on a Jewish early childhood program.
The Child Tax Credit has been expanded to $3,600 per child under 6 for working families who earn up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent. JUF Right Start eligible families who qualify for the full Child Tax Credit and complete an attestation in the JUF Right Start application may receive additional funds of up to $3,600.
“JUF supports the Jewish family,” said Dr. Steven B. Nasatir, JUF executive vice chairman and longtime champion of Jewish early childhood education. “This is the largest program of its sort in the country. We recognize that some families may need additional financial assistance right now, and we want to help.”
Families who do not qualify for the Child Tax Credit may still qualify to receive a JUF Right Start voucher of up to $2,000.
“I’m so proud of the resources we built at JUF to help parents,” said Anna Hartman, Director of Early Childhood Excellence at JUF. “We are parents too who have made these kinds of decisions and have experienced just how impactful and transformational a successful early childhood experience can be for both the child and the family.”
Not sure where to start? The Preschool Concierge makes the process of learning about Jewish early childhood programs easy and convenient. Call 312-357-4967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and expect to hear back within 24 hours during normal business hours (9:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday, except legal and Jewish holidays).