Ariel: Protect At-Risk Teens
MK Uri Ariel (Ichud Leumi – National Union) has submitted a bill that would increase supervision of group homes for troubled youth. The group homes shelter teenagers who have been removed from their homes by social workers or by court order.
While institutions that care for children younger than 14 are required to submit to government Welfare Department supervision, institutions that care for children age 14 or older may operate without Welfare Ministry supervision. Youth villages and most other institutions do have constant, organized Education Department supervision.
According to Dr. Yitzchak Kadmon of the National Child Welfare Council, dozens of institutions for Israeli teenagers are currently operating with no welfare supervision at all. The problem could be solved if the Welfare Ministry adds just five inspectors to its staff, he said. .
Kadmon said that the Council has received complaints about ill-treatment of institutionalized youngsters aged 14-18. Some of the children had no family in Israel, making it particularly hard to ensure that they were receiving proper care.
A ministerial committee will review the proposed law on Sunday and will decide the government's stance on the issue.
"This law is essential, particularly given the stories about crime among teens, including rape, that keep appearing in the news,” Ariel said. “The ministers I spoke to about the topic agreed with me, and I hope that the ministerial committee will decide to support this law.”
This issue is a long standing argument between the Education and Welfare Ministries, with some institutions "belonging" to one ministry and others to another.