Magen (“Shield”) – A Program to Upgrade the Child Protection System: Evaluation Study

This study examines one of the main programs currently being implemented to improve and upgrade the child protection system in Israel – Magen (“Shield”) – a program developed by the Children and Youth Services at the Ministry of Social Affairs and JDC-Ashalim. The program has three main components:

  • The creation of local hotlines and establishment of a reporting system for children at risk to determine the urgency of the case and who is responsible for treatment, to document reporting, and to provide feedback to the reporting agencies.
  • The development of mechanisms and procedures for collaborative work and division of responsibilities between the Child Protection Officers (CPOs), who are social workers in charge of protection and care of children in at-risk and emergency situations, and other members of staff in the social service departments.
  • The formulation and assimilation of clearer definitions of the role and remit of the CPOs at different levels.

The study monitored implementation of the program and examined its implications and the extent to which it can be implemented and disseminated throughout Israel. The report includes the following key topics:

  • The challenges facing CPOs prior to the implementation of Magen
  • Implementation of Magen and its 3 main components
  • The outcomes of implementation of the program
  • Challenges and directions for further development of the program.

The study has made an important contribution to strengthening the program and to its further development. The program will constitute the basis for the imminent national implementation of the overall government reform for the identification of children at risk.  Further, the findings have special significance for the implementation of other key initiatives currently on the child welfare agenda in Israel: The reform to the system of family social workers, and the initiative to develop positions for paraprofessionals within the social services.

The study was initiated by Ashalim and funded with its assistance.