Children's Services

Parenting can be a challenging endeavor on a good day, but raising children in a country that is unfamiliar can be terrifying!  The good news is that Israel has a comprehensive medical and welfare system that really does cater to children and those trying to create/raise them.

Learn About Your Child's Healthcare Rights

Sticky note:"need help?"

Bituach Leumi

In addition to the child subsidy stipend that parents receive per child, (currently around 169 ILS per child, depending on number of children), bituach leumi also offers additional subsidies to children of single parents, children whose parents are earning less than the poverty line, and children who suffer from physical or mental disabilities.

If your child (age 3 months to 18 and three months) is suffering from any type of disability, physical or mental) you may be able to apply to receive a paid disability stipend on your child’s behalf.  This is a monthly payment of 1,676 to 6,500 ILS, depending on the child’s level of disability.

In general, children suffering from the following diagnoses are eligible to receive a stipend.  Those children who:

  • need the supervision of another person to avoid situations of risk
  • need special or regular medical care.
  • Have developmental delays that prevent them from physical mobility that their peers are able to perform.
  • Children from the age of 3 years (or a little before) who depend much more than their peers on the help of another person to carry out daily activities (dressing, eating, bathing, moving around the house and maintaining personal hygiene).
  • Have congenital hearing loss or visual impairment
  • Have been diagnosed with a behavioral psychiatric condition, including ASD.
  • Were born with a chromosomal syndrome, including Down syndrome.
  • Have a complete lack of verbal communication and need communication assistance.
  • Have been diagnosed with AD(H)D, that even with medication, still demonstrate difficulties in school and/or social activities.

Even if your child doesn’t seem to fit in to those criteria, if your child has a significant health issue that has been diagnosed and is in follow up with a specialist, then it is worth pursuing if you would be eligible for this government stipend.

Mental Health

 Children are entitled to subsidized services to help treat them for mental health diagnoses or temporary disturbances.  Depending on the issue and severity, these services can take place in school, the community, or in a psychiatric institution if needed.

boy on floor of school hallway, head on knees

A recent analysis of studies worldwide, puts the overall average incidence of mental health diagnosis at 13% for children ages 6-18, the main diagnoses being anxiety, hyperactivity/attention deficit, depressive and disruptive disorders.  In Israel, on average ~150 children per year, ages 0-11, are hospitalized for mental health issues.  Although overdiagnosis does occur, there are many instances and many cultural influences that can prevent diagnosis and adequate treatment.

This is a list of the most common diagnoses parents receive regarding their child’s mental health:

RESOURCES FOR A CHILD WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

Detailed Information for Parents

hotspot chart for child mental health
Click here to see a listing of private therapists of here for additional resources to locate an English speaking therapist

Mental health treatment is in the basket of services and is highly subsidized. Click here to see more info about seeking treatment through a contracted provider or mental health center.

Until age 9, the child can be evaluated by a neurologist or developmental specialist through the kupah development center to receive a psychological evaluation. A referral is needed from the family doctor or kupah neurologist.

 

The most common and perhaps straightforward way to be admitted to a psychiatric ward if one feels in crisis, is to go through the emergency room.  A referral is needed by the family doctor, urgent care doctor or a nurse through the kupah phone line.  A list of mental health hospitals and regular hospitals with a psychiatric ward is available to subscribers. 

If someone is arrested for disturbing behavior or has been deemed an immediate risk to oneself or others, the municipality psychiatrist has the right the hospitalize the adult (or minor) for a period of 7 days.  The psychiatric director of the mental health hospital may place a mandatory hospitalization on an individual for up to 48 hours.

One can voluntarily commit oneself if referred to this service by a kupah or mental health center psychiatrist, or in acute cases, a referral by the family doctor.  A list of mental health hospitals and regular hospitals with a psychiatric ward is available to subscribers.

Through the Psychological Services Department, The Ministry of Education provides diagnostic services, treatment and educational counseling for students and their parents, within the school or municipality.

Click here to better understand how/when the ministry of welfare may get involved in your child’s care.

MINISTRY OF WELFARE

Any minor, who is determined by the Youth Law social worker, a specially trained representative from within municipality Ministry of Welfare – YOUTH AT RISK LAW department, will be defined as a child in need if:

(1) No parent or guardian is taking responsibility for the child

(2) The person responsible for the minor is unable to care or supervise the child, and/or neglects the child’s care

(3) The child committed a criminal offense but was not brought up on criminal charges

(4) The child was found wandering, begging or peddling in violation of the Youth Labor Law

(5) The child is subject to bad influences or lives in a place that is regularly used as a place of criminal activity

(6) The child’s physical or mental well-being is harmed or may be harmed for any reason

(7) The child was born suffering from drug withdrawal syndrome

Once a child is determined to be a ‘child in need’, the Ministry of Welfare now has joint responsibility, together with the parent or guardian, for the child’s welfare. The family court may get involved, through the Youth Law social worker,  and can order the minor or the person responsible for the minor, be examined by a psychiatrist specializing in children and youth to determine if the minor needs mental health treatment/supervision.

A court hearing may also take place, based on the opinion of district psychiatrist, relying on the opinion of a child and youth specialist psychiatrist who examined the minor, that there is real possibility that the minor is suffering from a severe mental illness disorder, and may be a danger to oneself or others and that, therefore, mandatory hospitalization is required.

It is important to note that when a minor turns 15, the child can request from the court to be hospitalized even if the parent/guardian disagrees.

The Youth Law social worker is responsible for the well-being of the child until the decision to have the ‘child in need’ category is lifted or ends.