The Public Forum – Youth Villages, Social Service Boarding Schools and Foster Care in Israel, founded in 2012, led by Avi Naor, a social entrepreneur and Laureate of the Israel Prize, acts as an objective body who can advocate for these frameworks’ vis a vis the government and the public, and ensure that these issues relating to our children, youth and young adults are a national priority. As a national, non-profit organization, we bring together all of the various players from the relevant eco-systems, to create a holistic response to the challenges faced by these frameworks.
The Public Forum focuses its work on three main areas - impacting public policy and awareness, leveraging funding from multiple sources and different sectors, and promoting important national initiatives that improve the services provided by these frameworks.
Our public policy work includes conducting professional research and holding national conferences on the needs of out of home frameworks, participation in parliamentary committee meetings and promoting the introduction of legislation for the benefit of these frameworks. Regarding raising public awareness, The Forum promotes articles, interviews, and more about out of home frameworks and their needs in the national and social media. We believe that the public broadly influence decision makers, and the more the public is familiar with the importance of these frameworks and their needs, the more we will be able to make them a priority. Our national initiatives focus on the building of multi-sectorial partnerships that will be able to promote initiatives for out of home frameworks, such as ensuring a continuum of education and services once these young people have graduated from high school. It is only through working together that we will be able to create a national impact.
Over the last decade, the Public Forum has initiated and completed a number of successful initiatives including a four-year joint project with the Ministry of Education and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation which resulted in the renovation of 148 dormitories in 41 youth villages at a cost of over 211 million NIS. Other successful projects include renovating 40 social service boarding schools at a cost of 20 million NIS in partnership with the Ministry of Welfare, National Insurance Institute Foundations, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and other donors, a project to advance technological education in youth villages in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and local and foreign philanthropy in order to provide these youth with technological certifications giving participants tools for successful integration into Israeli society, a project for purchasing graduate housing (caravans) for graduates with no family support and placed them within various youth villages and more.
During the past two years, the following core areas were advanced through the establishment of task teams led by the Public Forum, and through multi-sector partnerships that map the strategic partners in each core area taking a multi-sectorial view:
Our vision is to build the capacities needed within the frameworks, the government offices, and the public so that the services provided are of the highest quality leading to the ultimate goal - the best possible integration of these children, youth and young adults into Israeli society as strong contributing citizens.