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MK Orly Levy Abecassis.(Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Foster families for disabled lack state aid
MK Orly Levy-Abecassis says families spend thousands on children with disabilities and have yet to receive state help.
Foster families in Israel spend tens of thousands of shekels caring for children with disabilities and have yet to receive reimbursement from the state, said MK Orly Levy-Abecassis on Sunday.

Foster families hosting children with physical or mental disabilities volunteer to do so, and often have to wait years in order to receive funding from the state for their expenses due to the child’s special needs, according to the committee. These can include exceptional medical treatments, tutoring and transportation, among other things.

Speaking at a Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child meeting, Levy-Abecassis said that this is due to “insane and prolonged bureaucracy,” which “instead of rewarding these wonderful families, makes life more difficult for them.

“The government, in fact, took a loan from these families,” she added, “Maybe if we charged interest it would hurry up.”

Levy-Abecassis, who chairs the committee, called on representatives of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry to prepare a draft circular within two months in order to optimize reimbursements.

Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, head of the National Council for the Child, who was also present at the meeting, noted that the status of foster families is not protected by the law.

MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) replied that in recent days, she has been working to advance a bill aimed at regularizing the statuses of children and their foster families.

“We want to protect the rights of the biological parents on the one hand and on the other to give possibilities and space to foster families,” said Shalva Leibowitz, a representative of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry.

“Since we are talking about public funds, inspection, and therefore bureaucracy, is required.”

According to data provided by the committee, there are about 600 disabled children in foster families and an additional 28 are awaiting for placement with families.
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