Bringing light to Israel’s foster children who have been through troubled homes, is not always easy to do. The IDF is used to tackling problems that are not easy, and this year has teamed up with the Summit Institute to bring some light to the holiday of foster children who have been through so much, and still have many hurdles to come.
Summit has organized for the second consecutive year, a group of 300 foster children and their families, to light candles on Monday evening at the IDF paratrooper training base. “It’s not the first time we’ve done this,” says Orit Amiel, Director of Foster Care at The Institute. “Last year the children were invited by the IAF to have a tour of one of the air force squadrons. We’ve found this tradition of connecting with soldiers is empowering for children who have gone through so much.”
The Institute is hoping that the holiday cheer will last for a while as some significant issues are awaiting the organization on the horizon. Due to the early dissolution of the government, the social welfare network which the organization and hence the foster children depend upon may face numerous setbacks.
Expecting a significant influx of foster children who will need foster families during the coming year, the social welfare network was also hoping for an influx of funding. In spite of a bill increasing the rights of foster children passing the first reading earlier this year, the bill will now be put on hold before it can come to the plenum for a second reading due to the call for early elections. “We don’t know what will happen after the elections,” said Amiel. “Regardless of who the new Minister of Social Welfare is, we are hoping to see it pass and get implemented next year.”
With over 800 children from severely abused and traumatic backgrounds in over 600 foster families, Summit does not have the luxury of taking a recess, like the Israeli government does. “One cannot simply stop caring for children because an election is coming. The foster families don’t get a break, and neither do we,” Amiel said with pride. “These pauses are only causing us to have to work harder to recruit foster families, and meet the needs of babies and children. We do so, knowing that by finding them a warm and loving family, and giving them therapeutic support and help at school we are giving these children a chance for a healthier and more productive future as young adults.”
Considering becoming a foster family? Learn more about the Summit Institute.