Public Policy

The field of at-risk young adults in Israel has seen a great deal of development over the last few years. A number of initiatives affecting change in government and NGO policy have been advanced in an effort to promote awareness, activity, and solutions for at-risk young adults. Following is a selection of these initiatives:

“Yated” - The National Program for At-risk Young Adults

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services is leading the Yated program, a national, inter-ministerial, multi-demographic program and is seeking to learn about programs and solutions in this field.

Yated, the national program for at-risk young adults, operates on the assumption that the solution to social problems is complex and is not the purview of one actor alone. Advancing meaningful social change in the lives of at-risk young adults requires a broad view that connects the various players in the field, as has been successfully achieved through other national programs.

A national initiative can strengthen social cohesion, reduce discrimination and social exclusion, promote equal opportunity, reduce unemployment, crime and poverty, and have a beneficial effect on the present and future of at-risk young adults.

Young adulthood is a critical stage in a person’s life, during which far-reaching personal decisions are taken. This period, characterized by a lack of a formal support system, a blurring of boundaries, and uncertainty, poses challenges which can put any young adult at risk, much more those who lack personal and structural resources. At-risk young adults are defined as those who are ages 18-25, experiencing ongoing deprivation and/or distress in one or more of the following areas: education, employment, and skills; welfare and emotional well-being; physical subsistence, health and safety; familial and social sense of belonging.

Approximately 200,000 young adults in Israel are at-risk to a certain extent. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services estimates that currently only about 30% of them receive assistance, most of it partial and incomplete. On October 30, 2016 the Israeli government issued decision 2014 – the Yated national program for the advancement of at-risk young adults, with the goal of assisting these young people to realize their potential, integrate into and contribute to society and their community, while securing a future for themselves: personally, for their family, and in their employment.

Yated works to develop and establish an inter-ministerial and multi-demographic framework of support services and infrastructure, all working in cooperation to achieve an optimal quality of life for at-risk young adults.

The program focuses on advancing young adults in four main areas:

  • Education, employment, and skills.
  • Physical subsistence, health and safety.
  • Welfare and emotional well-being.
  • Familial and social sense of belonging.

Through four intervention components:

  • Tools and programs tailored to the needs of young adults.
  • Personal, professional mentoring.
  • National/regional professional network (knowledge and training, measurement, evaluation, and supervision).
  • Inter-ministerial, multi-demographic steering committees – national, regional, and local.

During its initial year the program is active in three channels: identifying and mapping at-risk young adults; developing professional expertise; strengthening, developing, and providing accessibility to solutions.

Partner agencies and organizations:
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services (which is lead on the initiative), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education, Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, Ministry of Construction, Ministry for Social Equality, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Ministry of Justice, the National Insurance Institute (social security), Authority of National-Civic Service and the IDF, various NGOs, and the philanthropy.

National Forum of Organizations for At-risk Young Adults

This summer the National Forum concludes four years in operation and is planning to intensify its activity in the coming year in two areas in particular:

A. Professionalizing the field: 
from its inception, the Forum has placed the utmost importance on professionalizing the field. Providing guidance and support to at-risk young adults is a profession, and those who undertake it must train, specialize, and continue to deepen their professional knowledge. During the coming year (2017-2018), the Forum will lead several continuing education opportunities: a six-month-long training course for professionals working with at-risk young adults; 10 one-day seminars in the core issues these organization deal with (realizing rights, occupational guidance, financial guidance, coping with crisis situations, relationships and sexuality, and more); and management training for mid-level managers, who are a critical link in professionalizing the field.

B. Public Policy: 
despite certain advances over the last few years, a significant gap still exists between the support offered to at-risk children and youth and that offered to at-risk young adults. It therefore behooves us to create the conditions for policy makers to understand the continuity between these two groups. To that end the Forum intends to promote two main agendas:

  1. Improving occupational advancement for at-risk young adults through fully realizing the potential of job training courses – changing existing criteria; equalizing conditions to those of other populations; and opening training courses that are targeted at and which give preference to at-risk young adults.
  2. Changing public policy with regards to the health of young adults at risk by utilizing research into this population’s unmet needs: dental care and mental health care; identifying, mapping, and making the unmet needs visible and understandable to decision makers; generating a public policy recommendation report.

A new study on the topic of job training accessibility was conducted for the National Forum of Organizations for At-risk Young Adults:

Job training opportunities for at-risk young adults:
Many young people do not acquire job training for fear of the stigma that Israeli society attaches to this type of training:

Housing for At-risk Young Adult Women

The Forum of Organizations for Young Adult Women in Israel strives for the widest possible political impact on the policies affecting young adult women in Israel today, especially in the area of housing, and to that end partners with the relevant government offices. One recent example of success achieved by the Forum is in the effort to obtain funding for subsidized housing for young adult women who lack a family support network… Read more:

Approximately 20,000 boys and girls in Israel live in boarding schools, which are out-of-home placements. Their greatest worry is the day they turn 18, at which age they become legally and officially independent and are required to leave behind the home in which they lived and were educated for many years, and begin to cope on their own with an uncertain future often filled with difficulties and loneliness…

According to the IDF, one in five soldiers receive financial assistance from the military during their service. But is the IDF able to truly address this problem? And should it? What happens to these young adults when they are discharged? What makes the age of 18 such a turning point for them? And what is the responsibility of the state? Natan Gelman, chair of the National Forum of Organizations for At-risk Young Adults explains the challenge, and Elior Biton and Nikita Tiomkin demonstrate how at-risk young adults can achieve academic success.

Watch the interview with Lucy Aharish on Channel 2’s “Talk of the Day”:

The Right to be Young

In July 2017, the Israeli government approved the founding of a National Authority for Young Adults, for the first time recognizing this population as a distinct demographic with its own unique needs, which require governmental address. At the initiative of Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel, her office will now include a National Authority for Young Adults. The ministry announced that the Authority will serve as a clearinghouse for coordinating, integrating, and leading governmental initiatives in this field. Gamliel said that, “the Authority will provide a real and complete plan for meeting the needs of young adults in Israel.”

The government stated that “young adults in Israel face crucial crossroads in transitioning into adulthood, ones that will affect the rest of their lives as well as the future of Israeli society. Until recently, many young adults at these junctures have found themselves without any support or guidance”…