|From the BBC report: From the outside, little about this European |
institutional facility gives away the appalling realities within
That's at the core of the mission we set for ourselves in 2001. From a distance, and we know this from many conversations, there is a widely-held view that Israel - of all countries - has an outlook on the care of special-needs children that we can all be proud of.
Without entering into a debate on that, we who founded the organization know there is much that can and ought to be done to make the situation very much better. Our way is to focus on the families.
The Malki Foundation's three programs are calibrated to do what we can to empower them to make the decisions about their children's care that only families should be entitled to make. In particular, we are determined to do as much as possible so that no family ever feels it has no viable option other than to hand its child over to institutional care, whether government-run or belonging to one of the numerous Israeli not-for-profit organizations that operate such facilities. (And yes, we are very open to different viewpoints and will be glad to provide a forum for them here.)
So how does it work in places where it works really badly? The BBC's website this week published a startling look into very bad practices as they affect special-needs children and institutionalized care in a particular part of Europe. The page on which it appears informs readers that
Chloe Hadjimatheou's report can be heard on World Update on the BBC World Service from 10:00 GMT on Friday 14 NovemberAs food for thought, here are some extracts from the BBC article, called "The disabled children locked up in cages":
Israel is not Greece. And institutionalized residential facilities vary - sometimes greatly - from place to place. But from our experience, the self-defensive arguments presented above are heard in Israel no less than elsewhere, and with as little justification.
Frimet Roth, who co-founderd The Malki Foundation with her husband in 2001, has shown in several published articles (among them "Israel’s hidden underclass", Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, July 17, 2013; "Institutionalization isn't the answer", Jerusalem Post, June 28, 2006; "A survey and the sad story it tells", Times of Israel, March 2, 2014], how important and under-addressed the issues are.
Here at the Malki Foundation, we do not engage in straight-forward advocacy, preferring to simply get on with helping people in practical ways. But readers can take for granted that much of what we see daily, in our encounters with families from every part of Israel's socio-economic and religious/ethnic spectrum, reinforces the view that there remains much that can be done to radically improve Israel's approach to its disabled population, and to those who care for them.