A therapeutic process without incorporating family members is less effective in the long run. Many of the families wish to have their child return home, but require a great deal of emotional support to do so. The Ministry highly values family counseling and concurs with the myriad of benefits, but this is not a component that can be funded in addition to what is already allocated for core program operations. Otot should have been able to refer the families to their local social services departments for family counseling. However, many if not all of the departments lack the capacity to serve its constituents with its basic assistance services , let alone offer a service requiring more staff expertise and time.
Following a successful pilot program, Otot seeks to implement a Family Therapy Program. Upon accepting a teen into the residence, and engaging them in counseling, a family MSW-level professional with an expertise in family counseling will engage as many family members as possible in family counseling and support groups, and help them process their struggles and strengthen their relationships. The support group is a very significant tool for helping the parents decrease their sense of isolation in dealing with a ‘problem child’, and increase their sense that they are not alone in their experience and their struggle. This element has been found to significantly promote the acceptance process.
Otot is respectfully requesting a two-year grant of $20,000 to support replicating the Family Therapy Program in three Otot programs – Makom Acher(‘a different place’) a residence for teens in Tel Aviv, Atnachta(‘respite’) a residence for teens in Jerusalem, and Chevruta (‘companion’), a hostel for youth-at-risk in Jerusalem. Ultimately Otot wishes to offer this program to all of the young people served by Otot.
Though this grant will fund one social worker, this professional intervention will create many more circles of impact that go beyond the teens themselves.
It is clear to us that the family counseling, with its focus on forming healthier intra-family connections and communication is a vital element in promoting and achieving a healthier aftermath. While we achieved positive results with the pilot study, we hope that with philanthropic funding we can make even greater strides and offer this valuable service to even more beneficiaries. Thank you for your interest and consideration.