Neradim - Arad

The first SOS village in Israel

Neradim Village 

Aims

The village is designed to provide a warm family environment and permanent home for children  who have difficulties in their own homes, and at the same time, integrate them into
educational institutions in the city of Arad. The goal is to fully incorporate the child into Arad’s local community and the normative life of Israeli citizens . The village operates in the spirit of SOS which is based on a child’s need to belong and to develop and mature with a strong sense of love, honor and security.

Population

The village takes care of 121 children, of whom more than 90% are under court orders intended to protect them from their natural home environments. The tightened policy by the Ministry of Welfare qualifies only children in the most dire situations to be placed in out-of-home settings.  Thus, children who arrive at the village often suffer from nutritional and medical problems,  feel insecure and lack basic trust in adults  .

Village Staff

The staff consists of permanent workers: 14 SOS mothers, 6 aunts, 3 counselors,  4 social workers, 1 educational coordinator. 1pedagogic coordinator, 1 accountant, 1 maintenance manager 1 secretary and the village director, 3 teachers, therapists and therapeutic experts as required. In addition, 15 volunteers who are replaced each year, 

Methods

Within an area of 25 hectares  are  6 two-family housing units which house 11 "families.”
Each house has between 8-9 children of varying ages who live together with their SOS mother. One of the houses operates as the Emergency Shelter which can accept children on short notice by request of the Child and Youth Service. Four additional facilites, one inside the village and three outside, serve the graduate population.

The children are under supervision 24 hours a day. The daily village routine begins with the individual continuing through to the level of the village "The Neradim Community "and The SOS family. The entire village is rather  like a large extended family allowing the children to celebrate the Jewish holidays together, go on field trips, attend summer camps and participate in other village projects which generate  feelings of belonging and  helping the children develop  leadership and excellence.
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The village takes care of all the child's needs such as clothing. health, transportation, psychological support, help with schoolwork, participation  in school delegations, school trips and any other activity which contributes to development and growth. It is  open 365 days a year for those children who need or chose to remain at the village during school vacations. The social workers find long term host families for those children who are unable to go home on vacations.

The village maintains constant contact with the children's families no matter what their situation may be .

Special Projects

1. In May, 2008, an emergency center run by SOS was set up at the Neradim village at the request of Child and Youth Service. The center is a framework capable of accepting children who have to be taken out of their homes at a moment’s notice in extreme emergencies, in cases of sexual or physical abuse, abandonment, severe neglect, or other extreme  situations. The center is a temporary arrangement, where the child can be assessed and evaluated and given short term crisis intervention.

At the end of the process a treatment program is written in coordination with the social services from within the child's community, and depending on the child's family situation, he may remain at the emergency center 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. To date the emergency center has accepted 61 children, 31 of whom were subsequently  accepted into the village. The average stay is 122 days. The main problems of the children arriving at the emergency center are severe negligence, violence, parents with mental illness and parents addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

2. The Graduate program: One year ago  we succeeded in implementing a program for the graduates of the village which serves them until they reach age 25,. Three years ago the administration of the village together with the Board of Directors of SOS Israel produced a program unique within Israel. The main point of the program was that successful reintegration into the community requires continued support during the course of military service and afterwards during academic  and professional training,  much the same way that regular Israeli families offer support to their children at various stages of their lives . It is important to emphasize the significance this project  has for  children of the village. It gives them the feeling  they have a future which they can control and enables them to feel stable and secure. This model also enables younger children in the village to feel secure about the future and believe “I 
too can succeed.”