Guttenberg Center for Special Services

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades is committed to create a safe space for all people and be a safe space where “All Are Welcome.”

a young child reading with an older adult.

Our participants range from the age of 3 years to people in their 50s and 60s who attend special programs as well as providing support for people with disabilities who attend programs across the JCC. We provide direct and indirect services for children, teens and adults with disabilities, representing up to 1,000 people who come through our doors and participate in swim programs, art classes, and many young adults who have their own membership to the JCC.

My son Kevin comes to a summer program here called Camp Haverim run by the Guttenberg Ceter for Special Services. I chose the JCC for my child’s summer camp experience because of the camaraderie of the entire team, the entire JCC. I use the Seiden Wellness Center while he is here – we can be healthy while making friends here at the JCC and my son also thrives here. They are very open to working with my son’s individual needs. Whatever we are doing at home I know is being reinforced here. All the supports are in place and the communication is always open. It’s an environment where I know he is safe, and where his independence and his confidence is being promoted. What else can a parent want? How lucky are we that we can help Kevin in the best possible way?

Group of special needs adults outside enjoying the day.

Our Mission

The Guttenberg Center for Special Services goal is to provide an environment where all people with differences each has the opportunity to reach his or her own potential. We are committed to the belief that all participants have access to appropriate social, recreational, cultural and educational experiences in a cheerful and natural community setting.

Our programs are designed to provide appropriate supports to participants within an inclusive, nurturing environment, and to work toward meeting the specific needs of each person in our community.

Adult with special needs swimming.


The Guttenberg Center was established by Adele and Bill Guttenberg (of blessed memory). This endowment enables the Kaplen JCC to provide vital programs and services for individuals with special needs and has aided the JCC to become a “barrier free” accessible agency.

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades strives to be an inclusive community. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to participate in all JCC programs and classes. The JCC is a handicapped-accessible facility. If you require special accommodations, contact Shelley Levy.


About the Staff

All classes are staffed by professionals in the area of special education, and in fact, most instructors have advanced degrees in special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, psychology, social work or speech therapy. Paid assistants are high school seniors and college students. Volunteers range from junior high school students to mature adults.

How do I begin?

All new participants are required to have an intake assessment by the Special Services Director to determine placement eligibility. Final program placement must be approved by the director and camp coordinator.

Is my application confidential?

All official documentation provided to the Kaplen JCC is kept in the strictest confidence and only used to meet each participant’s individual needs.

Who can apply?

Programs at the Guttenberg Center for Special Services are open to both Kaplen JCC members and the public, including all classes and for camping. A minimum of 4 participants is required to run any program or class.

Is tuition reimbursable?

The Kaplen JCC is a qualified provider of the State of NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Children & Families(DCF)/PerformCare, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), and Medicaid. We accept payments from other Service Agency Providers as well as sending school districts.

Can I apply for government financial aid?

In order to receive services through the state, children must be registered with New Jersey DCF/PerformCare. For more information, go to

Adults (21+) must be registered with New Jersey DDD and be Medicaid approved. For more information, go to

Does the JCC provide scholarships?

Limited financial aid and scholarship assistance is available for families with documented financial need.

In order to receive services through the state, children must be registered with New Jersey DCF/PerformCare. For more information, go to

Adults (21+) must be registered with New Jersey DDD and be Medicaid approved. For more information, go to

Related Programs

See All Programs
Guttenberg Center for Special Services
Teacher and young boy playing the bells.

Music Therapy

Our Music Therapy Sessions incorporate a music-centered approach to working with children and teens with disabilities. These sessions are facilitated by a certified music therapist and explore the relationship of music and improvisation to communication, cognitive, social/emotional, and physical development.
Get In Touch

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Have a confidential question that you would like an answer to?

Reach out to our team, we’d love to hear from you and provide you with the important information you are looking for.

A pair of adult hands and child hands holding a red heart.
Child swimming with mentor.
Child under sprinklers.
Child with mentor.

Monthly Parent/Caregiver Supports Groups

Forming now for Winter 2022

Looking for a professional facilitated support group with parents and caregivers of similar age children with disabilities?

Fill out our confidential form for further information and we will surely be in touch with you.

School-Age Children Support Group

Teenage Children Support Group