What is a Foster Family?
Orr Shalom foster families provide a warm home and supportive family setting for children and youth – from infancy to 18 – who have been removed from their homes and parents by court order. In these foster families, children are brought up in a healthy, constructive environment and fully integrated into home life. They are raised in a value-oriented, normative family where they receive dedicated care, warmth, love, positive role modelling and the opportunity for a better life. Today, there are 600 Orr Shalom foster families in Central Israel caring for some 850 children, 200 of whom have special needs. To ease the transition and to maintain family beliefs and traditions, the children are matched with families that share their religious and national background.
How to Become a Foster Family?
Selection and Training:
Those who decide to open their homes and hearts to receive a foster child first must undergo rigorous screening and meet the Ministry of Welfare’s criteria:
- Age 25-55 years-old
- Do not have a criminal record
- Have a minimum of ten years of education
- Have a basic source of income
Eligible families undergo extensive training by professional Orr Shalom teams before the child is placed in the home.
Maintaining Contact with the Biological Family
Understanding that a child’s attachment to their biological family is critical to their emotional development and is mandated by law, Orr Shalom’s professional staff and foster families strive to maintain the connection between the children and their families, to the greatest extent possible. About half of the children are fostered by relatives, thus continuing and strengthening the connection to the natural family fabric to which they belong. In cases where the child’s relatives cannot provide them with the needed care, Orr Shalom will find a foster family that matches the needs of the child and can provide an optimal environment.
Diagnosis, Counseling and Support
Before placement, each foster child undergoes an extensive diagnostic process so that the professional teams can get a comprehensive picture of their needs. A dedicated and individually-tailored treatment plan is then built for them which includes emotional therapy and study assistance. Upon placement in their new home, and throughout the child care period, the foster families receive ongoing guidance from Orr Shalom’s professionals and social workers. With the aim of building a strong and supportive foster family community, Orr Shalom runs a foster parents’ support program that offers a wide range of services including parent groups, enrichment sessions, teambuilding programs, fun days as well as group activities for children and youth.
Assistance and Financial Aid during the Absorption ProcessFoster families receive a monthly allotment from the Welfare Department for each child, together with a range of services determined by the individual needs of the child. In addition, foster families are entitled to a maternity allowance from Social Security as well as paid maternity leave for one of the parents, as stipulated by law and according to the eligibility conditions.
For over 15 years, it has been an honor for Orr Shalom to spearhead this meaningful endeavor and we invite you to join our foster family community.