This past May, Israel launched a national philanthropic initiative to address the complex challenge of the prevention and treatment of child maltreatment (child abuse and neglect).
Myers-JDC-Brookdale's Engelberg Center for Children and Youth is playing a key role in this strategic national initiative.
Mehalev ("From the Heart") is an initiative of a young Israeli hi-tech philanthropist. The initiative takes the perspective that effectively addressing child maltreatment requires a system-wide response from the social services, health care system, education system, the police, and others. Thus, a key element of Mehalev is to mobilize national agencies around a common agenda to focus on the extent and nature of the challenges and develop a shared understanding of how to address them. Thus, the Mehalev steering committee includes government officials, social entrepreneurs, representatives of the business sector, and academics.
The Haruv Institute is coordinating the Initiative and the Israeli division of the Boston Consulting Group is assisting in strategizing Mehalev’s multi-year stages.
Stage 1 of the Initiative includes three elements:
1. Establishing a national Child Maltreatment Index to monitor the extent and nature of child abuse and neglect, and the efforts to address them.
2. Promoting relevant legislation and policy.
3. Addressing the new and growing threat of child abuse perpetrated through the Internet.
MJB is leading the development of the Child Maltreatment Index. In contrast with other social problems, no country today has a system in place to monitor trends in child maltreatment. The Child Maltreatment Index will thus be a critical tool for policy planning and service development.
To accompany the development and ongoing implementation of the Index, MJB has convened a steering committee that includes national experts and key policymakers.
One of the key advantages that MJB brings to this initiative is our unique ability to work across ministries and sectors. The Institute's work with Mehalev complements other efforts we are making to address the challenges of child abuse and neglect, and builds on MJB's longstanding experience in research on services for children at risk. At the same time, it draws on the Institute’s expertise on system-wide impact and measurement, which has emerged in recent years as a major issue for the social services in Israel and internationally.
As a further part of the overall effort to address this issue, an international conference on preventing child abuse and neglect was held October 14th in Jerusalem, sponsored by MJB, the Haruv Institute and the School of Social Work of the Hebrew University.