Thursday, May 11, 2017

Aligning our activities with some genuine social-action pioneers

JAFCO's home page
It's been a pleasure for the Malki Foundation to partner recently with Israel Children’s Aid Network (ICAN) and to work together with its fine people to help children in Israel with severe special needs (and their families) have access to a better life. 

ICAN is a remarkable organization. Its founders, Ron and Deni Simon, are American child welfare pioneers and respected serial social-change activists. 

Ron founded the extraordinary Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options, also known as JAFCO, a pioneering force in the child welfare and foster care field. Its JAFCO Children’s Village, located on a five-acre site in Sunrise, Florida, provides much-needed services for some 350 abused and neglected children. It's been described as the model for future state-run foster care programs nationwide and
provides a full continuum of high-quality services including foster care, adoption, family preservation, mentoring, independent living and developmental disability programs. The JAFCO Children’s Village, consisting of an Emergency Shelter and Six Group Homes, is one of the most unique and innovative programs in the nation. The JAFCO Children’s Ability Center supports families raising children with developmental disabilities by providing family enrichment, resources, and respite care all within one state-of-the-art center. JAFCO recently became officially licensed as a Foster Care and Adoption Agency in PA... Our vision is to provide a privately funded model child welfare program which can be replicated by other communities around the country including a continuum of high
-quality family preservation, foster care, adoption, emergency shelter, group home, independent living, and mentoring services to at-risk and special needs children and
families in the community and support, treatment and respite care for families raising children with developmental disabilities. This model would work in partnership with the
state and in collaboration with other local agencies... [JAFCO website]
Their newest social "start-up", ICAN provides material support for a range of Israeli organizations that address child-focused needs. They include hunger and malnutrition, child abuse, housing, inadequate medical care, lack of educational opportunities and the chronic lack of services for children with disabilities. 

But part of their mission at ICAN, no less than the funding aspect, is in the raising of awareness among Americans about the state of children’s welfare in Israel. That's something we can appreciate and very much respect.

Deni and Ron Simon are hosted at Malki Foundation
office in Jerusalem by Debbie Fishman (Exec Dir) and Arnold Roth (Chair)
In a meeting at our office in Jerusalem this week, Ron referred to a belief among many American Jews that Israeli children with special needs get everything they could want via the Israeli government. That's of course a rosey view of reality and can lead to serious misunderstanding. The work of the Malki Foundation and many other similar-minded not-for-profits testifies to the broad scale of what is unfortunately not being adequately addressed.

We found a striking Ron quote elsewhere on the Web, and want to convey his words here:
The care of abused and neglected children is not charity; it is our responsibility to care for these children as a Jewish parent cares for their own children – with joy and pride. [Ron Simon]
Anyone surprised to know that at the Malki Foundation, we feel truly honored to have become part of the ICAN world? 

We look forward to an ongoing close collaboration with the Simons and their colleagues to help deliver services and support for children with disabilities and those who love them.

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