Many adolescents and young adults in Israel live in disadvantaged conditions that pose considerable risks to their normative development, requiring a particularly comprehensive response. The Division of Correctional Services (DCS) at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Services (MSAS) is a major provider of treatment, rehabilitation and prevention services for this population. In 2013, some 29,000 adolescents and young adults were in the care of the DCS. As part of the effort to improve the care that is provided to this population, the heads of the DCS and of the Research and Planning Division at MSAS asked MJB to conduct a number of studies on selected services and programs. In the past decade, MJB conducted five studies – three of them addressed the characteristics and needs of adolescents and young adults in national services, and the assistance provided. The other two studies were evaluations of new programs.
This unique document presents an integrative analysis of the characteristics and needs of the participants included in the five studies. The analysis also examined the conclusions of the various studies and identified crosscutting issues and common challenges. This information is meant to strengthen the basis for evidence-based policy and program development.
From the analysis, there arose eight prominent issues with implications for the nature of the work of the division:
1. Involvement of the adolescents and young adults in planning their own care, while taking their strengths into account
2. Clarification of suitable, effective ways to work with the parents
3. Expansion and adaptation of methods for working with special populations (e.g., immigrant or Arab youth and young adults, individuals with learning difficulties)
4. Broadening cooperation with other services that are working with the same adolescent or young adult
5. Identification of training needs for the program staff providing the services
6. Conducting internal auditing and strengthening the ongoing collection of data on clients and program graduates in order to improve and supervise the service for clients
7. Continuing to structure various parts of the new programs, mainly at the stage of the completion of care
8. Expanding the emphasis on the integration of the adolescents and young adults into normative settings (school, work, military/national service) and preparation for adulthood
In addition, the report proposes programmatic directions based on the integrated view of the findings.
The findings were presented to MSAS – to the heads of the correctional and research divisions, and are assisting the Ministry to formulate policy and programmatic directions for the division.
Citing suggestion: Kahan-Strawczynski, P., Levi, D., Ben Simon, B., & Sher, N. (2015). Services and Programs for Adolescents and Young Adults at High Risk: An Integrative Analysis of Studies on the Work of the Division of Correctional Services at the Ministry of Social Affairs. RR-696-15. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)