The official figures point to 330,000 children and youth at risk in Israel. These are youngsters who may not be able to establish an independent life and family and become a contributing member of society because they live in situations of financial hardship, family crisis, immigration, belonging to a minority group, or learning or physical disabilities. Their physical safety and development is endangered, as is their emotional security and wellbeing. They may lack a stable family life and need protection from the dangers of their environment and from self-harm.
The incidence of at-risk youngsters is more prominent and acute in the geographic and social periphery, where the local authorities are under-resourced, welfare services are stretched and cycles of deficiency, under-achievement and distress continue from generation to generation. Only coordinated and focused efforts can break the cycle and give the children the chance to become productive, independent and self-fulfilled adult members of mainstream society.
Rashi supports the government's policy that whenever possible children must remain in their home community, and be cared for by community-based services. For this reason, we collaborate in launching and operating programs in the community (e.g. Warm Homes and Early Childhood Centers) and programs that offer support to the entire family. At the same time, we are aware that in extreme cases, out-of-home placement is appropriate. We work to make children's and youth villages and boarding schools (Ashalim, Adamin and others) into excellent, well-resourced and well-planned therapeutic and educational environments.
Our work with vulnerable children and youth has extended to highly-vulnerable adults, victims of violence and drug addicts, with a focus on helping them rehabilitate and recover their places in mainstream society.