Emergency Shelter

Emergency Shelter at Neradim Village

emergancy shelter

The emergency shelter  has been active since May, 2008.  It  was established by SOS  at the Neradim Village at the request of he Ministry of Social Welfare’s Children and Youth Services.  The shelter was set up to accept children who had to be taken out of their homes at a moment’s notice in extreme emergencies such as sexual or physical abuse,  abandonment, severe neglect, or any other extreme emergency situations. The emergency shelter is a temporary arrangement where the child is assessed and evaluated and given short term crisis intervention.

The goals of the facilty are

  • to react rapidly in emergency situations
  • to provide a calm sheltered environment for children
  • to assess the situation at hand in order to establish a longer-term treatment plan.

It was originally intended to handle up to eight children but, instead, eleven children were  accepted under a special permit. Today ten children are housed there  – six boys and four girls of varying ages.

The children taken in are characterized mainly by complex profiles which include many complicated and special problems -- abandoned children,  children with severe behavior problems, children on psychiatric medication and children suffering from developmental problems.

Most of the children arrive on exceptionally short notice, following an acute crisis at home. Our relationships with most of the welfare services are both efficient and professional. We remain in constant contact with the child's welfare authorities thoughout his stay.

At the end of the process  a treatment program is written in coordination with social services from within the child's community. Depending on the child's family situation he may remain  for up to six months. The center provides services for children from the whole of Israel. After six months a special committee consisting of representatives from the child's community, the juvenile court and the village staff is convened and decisions are made concerning the child's future.

Statistical analysis
  
To date 61 children have been served by the shelter,  31 of who were subsequently accepted into the Village. The average stay of a child iin the emergency shelter is 122 days. Ages range from four to fifteen, with an average age of eight to nine. Main problems of children arriving  are severe negligence, violence, parents with mental illness and parents addicted to drugs and or alcohol.

The average stay  by 32 children who have since left was about three months. The shortest stay was nine days and the longest was seven and a half months. Nineteen chidren were absorbed as regulars in Neradim Village and 13 have since left the center, mainly to other institutions (some went on to psychiatric care, or to  different emergency or intermediary centers).

Four main facets of absorption:

1.. Family Background – Children at Risk: Our children come from problematic families and hence have been exposed to precarious situations. The majority are from single-parent households and some are even abandoned or orphaned. About half of the parents have special issues, according to our standards. As a result, more than half of the children conduct only limited family visits, or none at all. Those who are being absorbed in our center during a family crises typically have multiple issues due to their hard-knock family backgrounds and their behavioral and emotional state. The children exhibit signs of emotional and physical abuse, such as violence, addiction and severe neglect.

2. Behavioral-Emotional State:The hard-knock family background continues to haunt the children and  certainly takes a heavy toll on their physical and emotional development. The percentage of children who need support due to  physical and emotional issues is higher than that of children in other rehabilitational situations. Moreover, we have a relatively higher number of children who need medical treatment and psychiatric supervision.

3. Learning Ability: The emotional state of the children affects their studies and scholastic achievements. Almost a third are enrolled in Special Education programs and a large number of them cope with wide learning gaps and pedagogical issues.

4. Village Absorption Age: In the last couple of years five children ranging in age between four and six were admitted on a special permit (normally the allowed absorption age range is six to twelve). These younger children  require special attention from the village staff in order to fulfill their needs which differ greatly different from those of the older ones.