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Between 27 October and 3 November 2016, a group of 25 members of FICE Romania (specialists in child protection, prevention of drug abuse among children and young people, representatives of public administration at local and county level, journalists) conducted a study and documentation visit in Israel, at the invitation of FICE Israel.

1.Objectives of the study visit

Objectives of the study visit conducted in Israel were the following:

Creating a learning experience and transfer of know-how, in order to see and compare models of social support and intervention in the field of regenerative services provided children and youth at risk, training, recognition and certification of skills.

Analysis of issues related to the creation and operation of collaboration networks with specialists in social practice in Israel in order to improve their professional activities and get to know other models of social support.

Analysis of specific areas of social intervention, such as:

Integrated management of training services, active measures and social inclusion;

Integrated Management (through a mix of services) of passive policies with active policies to support individuals / groups at risk of abuse, neglect, social exclusion

Analysis of specific ways of further collaboration of more than 18 years with FICE Israel in identifying solutions to support certain categories of target groups:

children at risk of abuse / neglect;

children at risk of alcohol abuse, illicit substances;

children who commit crimes but do not have criminal responsibility

In the meanings specified the study visit was a useful opportunity for transferring best practices from Israelis partners, knowing the organization and functioning of institutions and services for children and young people in Israel, examples of best practice, etc.

2. Description of the study visit: working methodology and stages

Characteristics of the study visit can be summarized as follows:

The presence of a central theme of the study visit, which is the “red thread” of lived experiences, namely: “ways of collaboration between institutions in Romania and Israel in the area of child protection”

Presentation and discussion with representatives of the host institutions, in their capacity as protagonists of examples of good practice that can transmit the forefront know-how,

Active participation in the workshop, which stirs emotions and discussions by the participants in the study visit and guarantees in this way that they will remember what they had visited after returning to the country of origin.

Enrichment of own professional experiences, through the diversity of context, organizational structure, activity sector, etc.

Team-working at various levels during the work sessions.

3.Stages of the study visit

Learning and transfer of know-how in a study visit is structured as 4 characteristic stages: briefing, workshops, debriefing and analysis of results.

Working sessions

For each stage of the working sessions are being identified characteristics, duration and objectives.

The briefing is the introduction. This first phase includes:

a) An overview of all study visits – conducted by a meeting with the presence of all participants on the first day of the study visit,

b) Presentations point of each visit – the daily briefings

Briefing stage is done both for the entire study visit and for every visit to the host organizations for:

Presentation of the study visit

Common Goals

Exchange of expectations

Presentation of organizations receiving participants in the study visit

Preparing appropriate questions

Working sessions are the visits, structured and organized, providing for the presence of representatives of the host, preferably with professional profile similar to the participants. “

Debriefing was carried out by:

a) daily post-meeting debriefing sessions, to focus on important elements of each institution / center visited .

b) final debriefing, the last day of the study visit, a synthesis of what “we take home.”

4.Activities conducted during the research visit

The study visit was conducted mainly in order to understand the characteristics of the safeguarding of children in Israel, how are working the camps for children and youth and how they are perceived in the community, which are the results of this support system/ protection of children from the perspective of their social integration.

During the 7 days we visited the following campuses for children and youth:

Campus for children and young people Ben Shemen (Ben Shemen Youth Campus);

Campus for children Horfish (The Druze Children Village in Horfish);

Campus of marine military Ktzinei Yam Akko;

Campus for children and youth Manof ;

Campus for children and youth Nahalal;

Campus for young people Alonei Yitzhak;

Campus for children and young Ahava (Bnai Zion Ahava Village for Children and Youth);

Campus for young people Kiryat Yearim;

Campus for children and youth Havat HaNoar HaTzioni (Israel Goldstein Youth Village);

Campus for children and youth Mikveh Israel Holon (Mikveh Israel Youth Village)

The workshop proposed by Israeli partners (according to areas of interest previously submitted by professionals from Romania) had an average daily duration of 6h (from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 14.30 to 17.30).

In Israel, there are a total of 180 camps for children and youth. Visited camps for children and youth are made up of spaces for sports activities (sports grounds with necessary facilities), swimming pools, spaces for cultural activities that include auditoriums, halls for activities and therapy through music, dance, painting, etc.

Frame every campus there are farms for animals (horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, poultry, etc.), farms that have all the necessary facilities and equipment for activities. The surfaces of these camps varies from one unit to another, from 2-3 ha, 200-300 ha. In these farms work after a program by experts, all the kids on campus (3-6 hours / week, depending on age), the products being the most used for own consumption, also in sale of products obtained (fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, etc.) ensure about 15% of the budget of campus.

There are also centers in which dogs are bred, this being trained through special programs, for use in therapy with animals and to ensure the security objectives by firemen or policemen or specific activities.

They are designed and implemented in the organization of efficient social protection system for children and youth. In the context of a multi-religious and multicultural society, as a whole, the focus of the child is young.

They are offered high quality services, the system comprising at least three components: social component, educational component and preparation for life.

Specialists pay special attention to teamwork and continuous improvement of the team members. Not only gives children and youth social and educational support but also training for excellence. Practical activities in campuses serve as preparation for life and forming good habits.

Support for children in difficulty is granted for each child resident in extracurricular activities or occupational therapy activities (agriculture and animal welfare).

On 1 November 2016, the Romanian specialists from the official delegation had a working meeting at the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) with MP Ilan Ghilon and specialists, members of FICE Israel on issues of social welfare and education. They also held meetings with officials of the municipalities of Nazareth and Kiriat Yaerim.

They also held Discussions with mayors, deputy of the Knesset were beneficial in that they came up with information that facilitated the understanding of phenomena, a system of social organization, knowledge of philosophy and strategies that Israel applies on social work.

On 11.02.2016 was held in Jerusalem, Romanian-Israeli professional seminar on “The role of the family in child development and formation of the first life models” (moderated by Mr. Emmanuel Grupper, President of FICE Israel and Vice-president of FICE International, prof. Toma Mares, president of FICE Romania, Mr. Yossef Zagury, general inspector at the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Lia Meron, member of the Board of FICE Israel), in which were debated and deepened aspects related to social protection of children and young people from the two countries. The seminar has launched a series of concepts and challenges in social assistance and education, including:

The effect of mentoring;

The effect of coaching;

Coach and coaching;

The concept of “mindfulness”

Family mediation;

Alternating home;

Continuous training of staff in social work and education.

5.Support materials used in study visits

For each child and youth centers visited were developed maps with materials containing:

Work program (Agenda for each visit)

Observation sheets of the studied examples of good practice

Working Methodology

Presentations of best practice analyzed and made available by the Israeli experts during visit

Other materials and presentations of associations / institutions visited in pdf or ppt, available immediately or subsequently transmitted by email.

At the end of the study visit were centralized all information “collected” by the members of Romanian delegation (specialists in child protection and education of Neamt, Iasi, Vaslui, Calarasi, Arges, Constanta and Bucharest) and were developed materials which formed the basis for drafting this final report of the documentation visit.

6.Observations and conclusions

Participants in the study visit in Israel concluded that visits and information received were very useful for their work and expressed satisfaction about the study visit, both in terms of organizational-logistical and especially from the technical-professional point for of view.

Israeli model of “villages” and “boarding” is desirable for Romania for two reasons: protects children and at the same time, prepares them in terms of education and practical for family life;

in Israel the focus is on increasing accountability and autonomy of children and also the children’s right to participation (children are consulted but are also involved in working activities, aiming at developing life skills;

work of all professionals is geared directly to the child, who spends long hours. The staff has multiple specializations (example Social worker may have skills in psychotherapy) and also working more collaborative in outsourcing services (example, healthcare);

activities, art workshops are a component that is not missing from any campus and the artistic skills are highlighted and developed for all children (various instruments (singing at various instruments, dancing, drawing, etc.);

rooms are furnished with essential (work table, beds and lockers), 3-4 children living in them, there is no TV or Internet access than in a sitting room (a strict parental control);

boarding schools are located in areas rich in vegetation and in generous perimeters, like farms, the school is on site so that children and youth activity is carefully controlled and discreet (they are informed of these matters);

therapy with animals (horses, dogs, small animals, etc.) it is a way to support children with behavioral problems (delinquent children with deviant behavior, abused children). There are interesting programs in which the abused children are encouraged to overcome their fears, developing playful activities or caring for animals.

the fact that all the time children are involved in activities (preparing for subjects with difficulties or training further to obtain performance, caring for animals, plants, applying into practice the theory taught in school, sports activities, arts, etc.) and are so busy, accountable, has actually meant to develop their area of knowledge to positively influence the physical and cognitive development and distracts them from adopting deviant behaviour, thus eliminating the risk of school dropout or delinquent manifestations;

Summarizing all activity related to the exchange of experience, it highlights the emphasis on the importance of maintaining the child’s relationship studying and living on campus with his family of origin, but especially school insertion, developing individual skills and achieving maximum potential for each student, with perspective socio-professional insertion, after completing compulsory military service for both girls and boys.

Israeli educational system is flexible in that it allows and encourages the development of practical skills of students from campuses by involving them in activities of self-care and housekeeping in micro-farms created inside residential services. Empowering students is carried out according to age, level of development, abilities and preferences. Also, volunteering is an important point in the work carried out in the sense that it provides young people designed to strengthen the effort of specialists, being involved mainly in the cultural and artistic education programs.

Admission to these complex units in terms of service delivery (campuses), each child / young person is assessed both within the multidisciplinary team, and together with it to identify the most suitable development environment. As a distinctive touch to the Israeli educational model, all children have equal opportunities for development and education. Campuses designed to a standard pattern are both hosted children from families without socio-economical difficulties and children at risk or who can not be cared for safely in the natural family. Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, ensures equal treatment and living together in boarding schools for all categories of children / youth.

Another aspect which projects under the Israeli scheme lies in the adaptability of its individual needs for knowledge and education, in that curriculum involves a small number of subjects covered by the level of the student’s cognitive development, respectively boosts performance by scoring accumulated years of study, that may be developed in the final grade of the baccalaureate. It is underlined that most of these activities are part of the extracurricular and support both the development of independent living skills.

The whole system seems to support the smooth functioning of the educational process, so there are few situations where much of the range of activities is carried out in partnership with bodies from the private spectrum or even individuals, the latter supporting financial and material realization of service delivery complex. Empathy and support offered to children and youth by specialized staff and donors are rooted in the fact that, in turn, some of whom are former students of these campuses.

The philosophy of these school units and social protection is based on the principle that security lies in the formation of responsible adults completing a comprehensive education cycle, and the earlier is its initiation, the chances of success are increasing considerably.

All these conclusions could be drawn from the effective visits in camps, youth centers, reception centers in cases of urge, official meetings with representatives of municipalities of the two cities and the Palace of Parliament, formal and informal discussions with specialists from the Ministry of Education and the social protection. Exchange of information between the two countries was achieved in formal framework in the context of the International Seminar, where there were presented protection and education systems, best practices, legal aspects, points and directions of joint action for the specialists of the two national sections FICE.

Those over 18 years of cooperation between FICE Romania and FICE Israel shows interest and constant involvement of the two sides in education and social work, every one becoming in the country of origin a real ambassador for children and young people in protecting and promoting their rights.

At the end of the visit documentation it was agreed between the leaderships of the two national sections FICE that in 2018, FICE Romania will host scientific events occasioned by the celebration of 20 years of fruitful cooperation and friendship between FICE Romania and FICE Israel.

Prof. Toma Mares


FICE Romania

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