More than 30,000 teen girls have been designated “at-risk” in Israel. A growing number of young girls experience physical and sexual abuse, living in dysfunctional family settings rife with addiction and parental illness and neglect.
Studies show that gender-sensitive programs must be established to effectively respond to the unique needs of adolescent girls. Currently there are approximately 375 Israeli at-risk girls between the ages of 12 and 14 who are waiting for therapeutic placements outside their homes.
The JWI-supported Teen Girls’ Unit at the Jerusalem Hills Children’s Home addresses the unique needs of troubled teenage girls and helps them overcome a lifetime of struggle, isolation and despair, so they can improve their quality of life, stand on their own feet and become engaged and successful members of Israeli society.
The treatment for these girls is based on creating a healthy and stable physical and emotional environment while fostering confidence, independence, and self- esteem. Each girl is enveloped by a clear structure of professional guidance and support, through a coordinated program that combines intensive on-site schooling, integrated psychological, social, and recreational therapies, supervised therapeutic contact with the girl’s family, gradual interaction with the greater community and daily household responsibilities.
Nine girls are part of this year’s inaugural group; that number will grow to 1 this coming September. The program seems to be enjoying enormous success in its inaugural year. The girls have adjusted well to the beautiful campus, to the educational and therapeutic environment, and to each other. For JWI and its seven-decade history of philanthropic investment into the Jerusalem Hills Children’s Home, the new girls’ program enables us to target resources to a populations that is key to our mission and work to empower women and girls – here at home, in Israel and around the world.