Needs of and Services for Children and Youth in Galilee and Gaza Border Communities – Findings of the Survey of Parents from the Evaluation of the Initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America

Following the Second Lebanon War in the north of Israel and the accelerated missile fire from Gaza in the south during the summer of 2006, the Jewish Federations of North America launched an Initiative to respond to the ensuing needs of children and youth. The Initiative produced more than 200 programs, which were implemented via JDC-Israel/Ashalim, the Jewish Agency, and the Israel Trauma Coalition: enrichment activities, activities for teaching social values, scholastic assistance and dropout prevention programs, trauma treatment, and programs for preschoolers and children with special needs. Tens of thousands of children in some 60 localities participated in the programs over the two years of implementation.

The Initiative was monitored by an evaluation study at 12 localities. The study was conducted in two stages – a few months after the Initiative began and a year later. Data were collected through interviews with key personnel in the localities, the schools, the implementing and donor organizations, and through telephone surveys of the parents. The summary report of the study was published in 2009 (Kahan-Strawczynski and Levi, 2009).

This report presents the findings of the two surveys of parents of participating children, aged 6-17.  Each year, some 1,300 parents of some 2,370 children were interviewed. The report deals with three main topics:

  • The amount of children participating in programs offered via the Initiative and other community agencies
  • The extent that services were expanded due to the Initiative: in the first year, compared with the programs available before the Second Lebanon War; and in the second year, compared with the programs offered during the first year
  • Parents’ assessment of the services offered: both via the Initiative and other community agencies

The data analysis included comparisons of the Jewish and Arab sectors, the two emergency areas (north and south) and the two years of implementation. The analysis showed program implementation on a large scale for children and youth, primarily enrichment activities for ages 6-12. Parents expressed great satisfaction with the overall programming. Nevertheless, the activities and assistance were not always considered sufficient. Scholastically – parents of high-school and Arab/Druze pupils reported a need for additional assistance. Emotionally – there was a perceived need to further identify children with difficulties, to provide more direct emotional assistance to children and more guidance for parents.

Survey findings were presented to the implementing and the donor organizations each year, helping to pinpoint key issues, learn more about the population’s needs and improve programming. The findings helped draw valuable lessons for the implementation of future emergency and rehabilitation programs.

The study was initiated by the Jewish Federations of North America and funded with its assistance in cooperation with the Planning, Research and Information Division of the Jewish Agency’s Israel Department.