By Deborah Moon
David Block, M.A., became executive director of Jewish Family & Child Service on Feb. 17, 2020. Block has extensive experience in developing community-based programs and managing federal, state and local government grants.
“His history as a licensed marriage and family therapist, as well as his history in behavioral health agencies, made him a standout candidate for JFCS as we look to strengthen our whole program by centering our agency on person-centered, trauma-informed principles and mental health care,” said JFCS Board President Larry Holzman.
Block was the president/CEO of Joint Initiatives for Youth and Family in Colorado Springs, Colo. Previously he worked in Santa Fe, N.M., youth shelters and family services and spent 20 years in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he was CEO of the American Red Cross of Wyoming and the executive director of Attention Homes Youth Treatment Center.
“One big goal is to be a critical resource for families with children and adolescents,” said Block. “My experience with mental health agencies and building community partnerships and relationships will be critical skills as we go forward.”
“Our overarching goal is to reach out in a proactive way to the Jewish community and identify with community partners how this agency can help serve … and to tailor our programs to meet the needs of the Jewish community and broader community,” he added.
Block said that the goal to focus on person-centered, trauma-informed care means the agency will work to enhance awareness and sensitivity when responding to clients’ current or past trauma. He added, JFCS will “use the expertise from our counselors to help train all staff … to build a higher level of compassion, listening and rapport-building skills.”
While expanding services to families, children and adolescents will be a big focus, Block said the agency will continue its programs for Holocaust survivors as long as there is a need. “Holocaust services are a core part of our mission, and we are linked with the Claims Conference, which provides funding for those services,” he said.
Block earned his M.A. in counseling psychology from John F. Kennedy University and his B.A. in English/psychology from Queens College. In Cheyenne his family (wife Bea Doyle and three sons) was active in Mt. Sinai Synagogue. His son, Adam, lives in Denver with his wife and two sons; Nathaniel lives in Fort Collins, Colo., and Isaac is in Laramie, Wyo.