The Contribution of Youth Protection Authority Facilities to the Preparation of their Graduates for Life in the Community


The Youth Protection Authority (hereinafter, the Authority) is a unit within the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs entrusted with providing authoritative out-of-home care as an intervention strategy for treating youth in situations of increased risk, danger, or delinquency.  The Authority’s facilities aim to rehabilitate adolescents by providing a secure environment, setting boundaries, educating, and enriching them, to allow for normative lives as adults. The Senior Division for Research, Planning, and Training in the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs asked the Social Integration team at the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute to conduct a study to evaluate the contribution of the Authority’s facilities to their graduates. This study is part of a broader project that includes measuring the life outcomes of the graduates.


  • To obtain in-depth information about the residents’ experiences in the Authority’s facilities (both locked and open)
  • To examine the readiness of graduates for life in the community and the challenges they face upon leaving the facilities
  • To examine the perceived contribution of the Authority’s facilities to the graduate’s readiness to integrate into life in the community


The research was conducted using qualitative methods and included 39 semi-structured in-depth interviews with 16 staff members, including four senior officials at the Authority, six facility directors, two graduate coordinators, and four additional staff members from various facilities (social workers and counselors). In addition, 23 graduates of Authority facilities were interviewed. Staff members and graduates were interviewed from facilities serving for the general population, as well as from facilities serving for Arab or Ultra-Orthodox youth. A focus group was held with four coordinators from the “From Protection to Independence” program which accompanies the graduates.

Key findings

The interviews revealed various aspects influencing the therapeutic process in the facilities and the residents’ experiences:

The therapeutic process – The treatment in the facilities is based on stages. The higher the stage, the greater the emphasis given to internal control at the expense of external control, and to reinforcing norms and values and promoting a sense of capability and independence. Successful treatment relies on its prolonged nature, allowing residents to address treatment goals and undergo long-term educational-therapeutic processes.

In interviews with the graduates, several elements emerged that helped engage the youth in treatment, including, gradually taking responsibility for themselves and others, and increased involvement in decisions concerning the management of their lives. Authority staff and graduates criticized the therapeutic process in some of the facilities. The criticism focused on a lack of a cohesive therapeutic approach, too much emphasis on behavior modification at the expense of deeper therapeutic processes and on the use of coercive measures in facilities for teenage girls. Other obstacles emerged in the interviews with staff, such as the inclination of the courts to release youth before they completed the therapeutic process and had the appropriate tools for successful reintegration into the community.

Education – The educational activity in the facilities often provides the youth with a sense of accomplishment and allows them to discover their strengths. However, some of the staff criticized the short study hours and the lack of variety of study materials available at the facilities.

Preparing for life in the community – Before leaving the facilities, a lengthy preparation is required that includes a process of gradual reintegration into the community, providing practical tools for day-to-day functioning, providing tools for emotional regulation and resistance to temptations, as well as establishing connections to continuing programs or settings such as pre-military training programs, military service, civilian national service, etc. Some of the residents spend time at Youth Authority community-based hostels. Different opinions emerged regarding the Authority’s hostels. On the one hand, professionals perceive the stay in the hostels as necessary for graduates of locked facilities to make the transition to life in the community. However, the Authority is considering reducing the number of hostels due to the low occupancy and high dropout rates in some of them. While some of the hostel graduates were satisfied with the help provided, other graduates claimed that they were not given sufficient support and guidance.

Supporting graduates returning to the community – The graduates experience many difficulties after leaving the youth protection facilities. Some of them face knowledge gaps and functional difficulties that do not allow them to manage on their own, despite their high expectation of integrating into a normative lifestyle. In addition, many graduates experience loneliness and find it difficult to create new circles of support. It is important for them to join another program or setting, such as military service, quickly. The interviews show a need to accompany the graduates for many years, in a way that will be adapted to their changing needs and provide them with emotional support and guidance, as well as practical assistance.

Preserving and cultivating human capital – Some of the Authority’s facilities face a high turnover of counselors and understaffing of social workers.  The staff point to the need to improve the scope and quality of the training provided to the staff teams. In addition, various activities should be undertaken to prevent burnout among the staff, to cultivate esprit de corps, and to improve their employment conditions.


Several recommendations emerge from the study, including encouraging the facilities to formulate a solid therapeutic approach based on a theoretical foundation, and in accordance with the Authority’s intervention policy. It suggests placing a more central focus on supporting graduates, creating a long-term support mechanism within the facilities, intensifying efforts in employment and education for Arab graduates, improving the educational programs and vocational training, and enhancing the preservation and development of human capital within the facilities through regular ongoing training, prevention of burnout, and improved employment conditions. Some of these recommendations are in line with changes that are currently being implemented by the Authority, which attests to the need for them.

Citing suggestion: Falk, A., Stern-Katry, R.,  Kapranov, E., (Aizik) Inbar, I., & Rivkin, D. (2024). The Contribution of Youth Protection Authority Facilities to the Preparation of their Graduates for Life in the Community. RR-979-24. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)