The Child and Youth Service division of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry will celebrate 65 years of work for the benefit of children, youth and their families this year.
To mark the occasion, the ministry launched a two-day conference Monday and Tuesday on “Child and Youth Service” at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.
The conference aims to focus on the “power of spirit, growth of vision, and depth of activity” as well as the achievements and challenges still facing the child and youth services at the ministry.
“In recent years the Welfare Ministry invested a lot of funds in the development of services for children and youth at risk in the community,” said Yossi Silman, director- general of the ministry and head of the Silman Committee ahead of the conference.
Hundreds of social workers and child welfare professionals gathered for the conference to present and discuss ongoing and new programs, projects, and innovative research toward helping children and youth at risk. Many of the plans presented aimed to display the various collaborations of social services with their clients, government agencies, and civil society organizations.
“The Welfare Ministry has been working to strengthen the services in the community and examine the possibility to reduce costs for the families, develop community responses to children post-hospitalization, promote laws for foster care and foster care family recruitment, develop rehabilitation programs for parental and family abilities, and create a new family emergency response for children with special needs,” said Silman.
A scheduled discussion on the Silman Committee conclusions addressed the ministry’s policies on removing children from troubled homes and placing them in external frameworks and on providing visitation rights.
The committee recently released its recommendations calling for increased transparency, additional rights for social workers and increased funding and development for community programs, as well as a restructuring of the ministry’s decision-making activities on these issues. The committee additionally reviewed the working environment of social workers dealing with these issues, in an attempt to develop an actionable plan to improve their conditions.
The discussion on the recommendations was held with the participation of a panel reflecting an array of child welfare professionals, including: retired judge Philip Marcus; Mayor of Holon Moti Sasson; Prof. Asher Ben-Arieh, CEO of the Haruv Institute; and Shem Tov Weizman, CEO of Talpiot Hadera.
In addition, the conference included lectures by Prof. David Passig on futurology, Eran Shahar on life forces and enthusiasm in the processes of transformation, and on the second day will include lectures by Dr. Uri Schwartzman, a psychiatrist, discussing the processes of post-trauma in intercultural dimensions, and Gidi Orsher who will display footage of children and youth in situations of risk and neglect.
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