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Neighborhood Family Service Centers


What to expect when you apply for benefits and programs at your local NFSC.  What customers should know in order to expedite their case.

How do we do this?
What other services are available?
What happens when case-specific concerns are not addressed?
Front Door Overview of services available
What to expect when you apply for services and programs

How Do We Do This?

We provide access to jobs, benefits, and community services and by strengthening families.  The goal is to partner with community and faith based organizations, government and non-profit agencies, private organizations and employers to help some of our communities’ most vulnerable families enhance the overall quality of their lives.    


  • CJFS operates nine NFSCs throughout the county.  All centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  Individuals may access benefits and programs at any of these Centers.  
  • Individuals who are interested in applying for Ohio Works First cash assistance should visit our Jobs, Education, and Training, or “JET” Center downtown at 1641 Payne Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114.  
  • The process for applications, eligibility determination, and case management is largely the same across centers although Centers vary somewhat in size and case load composition.     
  • Individuals may also access Healthy Start and the Childcare Assistance Program through a central hotline or on-line for Healthy Start only.  

What other services are available?

  • Ohio Means Jobs Career Centers
  • Co-located services – other county agencies and community-based organizations
  • Voter Registration—offers County residents the opportunity to register to vote   

What happens when case-specific concerns are not addressed?

You should contact below

  • Caseworker
  • Team Leader
  • Team Coordinator
  • Center Manager
  • Customer Relations Specialist  is located in each NFSC.  They provide assistance to customers with case-specific concerns and information, and referrals to available community resources.   
   Office of Customer Relations PowerPoint Presentation

Welcome Center/ Front Door Overview of Services Available

Health Care Coverage for children and Medical for the Aged, Blind and Disabled: Healthy Start is free health insurance for children of low and moderate-income working families, their parents and pregnant women; Medicaid is a state and federally-funded health care coverage plan providing health care coverage to certain low-income and medically vulnerable people of all ages.  

The Child Care Assistance Program helps families with the cost of child care.  Pays Part of Your Child Care Cost While You Work!  It helps eligible parents on the job or while in training.  Child care is provided in certified homes and licensed child care centers.  Other programs, i.e., for help finding emergency child care anytime, call Starting Point at 216-575-0061.

The Food Assistance Benefits Program (at the federal level it is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) is for very low income families to help them obtain a nutritious diet.  Food benefits are issued through the Ohio Direction Card (similar to a debit card).  Accepted at over 900 stores in Cuyahoga County!     

Ohio Works First (OWF) program offers help in obtaining employment and time-limited financial assistance to needy Ohio Families. If you qualify for cash assistance, the Ohio EPPI Card will be mailed to you or can opt for direct deposit to bank account.  The amount will be based on the number of people in the family and the family’s income. It’s important to note the OWF cash benefits now have time limits: the laws of the State of Ohio require that cash assistance ends after you have received thirty six months worth of benefits. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to receive additional cash assistance once your time limit has been exhausted.  Part of your responsibility will be to sign a self-sufficiency agreement. This is your blueprint to finding a job or getting a better job. Your caseworker will assist you to get job training and in finding a job.  If you don’t participate in these activities, your assistance may stop.     

Help with Family Emergencies: Let us help you.  The “Prevention, Retention and Contingency” (PRC) program provides aid and services due to unexpected emergencies.    Applicants who qualify may receive items and services which help to divert them from public assistance, help to maintain or obtain employment, help to remove barriers leading to neglect and abuse and help to stabilize the family.    

Job search information, education and training programs prepare adults, dislocated workers and youth for worthwhile and sustainable employment. The OhioMeansJobs|Cleveland-Cuyahoga County One-Stop Centers offer a comprehensive array of job services including job match, internet job search, career exploration, resume preparation and training.  The Neighborhood Family Service Center’s Career Centers are “access points” to OhioMeansJobs|Cleveland-Cuyahoga County and provide a variety of employment and training services to individuals.  Customer may access information about EFS programs and benefits at the One-Stop Centers.

What to expect when you apply for services and programs.

Application Process

Q. How do I apply for assistance?

A. Complete the entire application. If you cannot complete the entire application on the same day ask for assistance from staff at your local NFSC. You may also choose to contact the Cuyahoga Benefit Application Hotline at 216-416-4440 where application assistance can be provided for you as well.

Request for Cash, Food and Medical Assistance Application

Q. If you need help completing the application?

A. If English is not your primary language - the center staff will provide someone who can help you understand the questions on the application during the interview.
If you have a disability, are hearing-impaired or visually-impaired – the center staff will help you complete the application and interview. 
Center staff will also help during times you report changes or have questions about your case.   

Q. How do I complete the application?
A. Answer as many questions as you can on the application. If you cannot complete the entire application on the same day – fill out the page with your name, address, and signature then turn it in to your local NFSC so that we can provide assistance from date of submission if you are eligible. You can choose someone to apply for assistance for you.  This person is called an authorized representative.  If you are applying for someone else, answer the questions as they relate to that person.

Important to Keep Appointments  

Q. How do I complete the face – to face interview?
A. Make sure you come in for your scheduled interview.  During the interview, you will complete the rest of the application eligibility process.  Your assigned caseworker will tell you what benefits you may be eligible for. If you cannot come in for your interview – you must contact the center to reschedule your interview.  If you do not contact us within 30 days from the date you file your application, we may deny your assistance and you will have to reapply.  You may not have to come in for the interview if we determine you meet a hardship condition such as illness – we may offer alternative options for an interview. If appointment is missed – a “Notice of Missed Appointment” is sent out to the customer.  It is the responsibility of the customer to reschedule the appointment. 

Verifications and Timeliness

Q. What type of verifications do I need?

A. The verification required varies for each program that you are applying for.  Contact your center for the examples of the documents that you can use as proof.  If you do not have everything, be sure to still come to the interview and your caseworker can help you.  If you are not a U.S. citizen and are only applying for alien emergency medical assistance, you do not have to verify your citizenship status or provide a social security number.   

Q. When will I receive assistance?

A. We base eligibility for cash, food stamp and medical assistance on the date we receive a signed and dated application.  Eligibility should be determined 30 days from date of interview.  The determination date changes to 90 days if you are claiming a disability.  We will review retroactive eligibility for medical assistance for unpaid medical bills.    

Q. What if I need help right away?

A. If you need food assistance right away, and are not currently receiving it:  complete the first two pages of the “Request for Cash, Food Stamp, and Medical Assistance” - you may qualify to get food assistance as quickly as 24 hours to 7 days.