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Starting Over

Jewish Family Service targets former upper-middle-class women in financial straits.

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Ellen and Francis (not their real names) are examples of a growing trend among formerly upper-middle-class women in their 50s and 60s, who undergo a life-crisis and plunge into financial straits. Orange County's Jewish Family Service, a social service agency that provides group and individual counseling to 7,000 clients from its $925,000 budget, has seen a 26 percent increase in pleas for assistance from women in transition in the last year, says Mel Roth, the agency's director. The agency has added a third full-time counselor to cope.

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