Process. It is a word commonly heard during both pre and post Aliyah. Navigating the world of special needs in a new country is a process and can be overwhelming. It is hard not to compare systems, the availability of services and ease of access when immigrating from one country to another. Knowing where to turn and necessary steps to take to ensure that your child receives the services he/she needs prior to your Aliyah will help you set expectations and most of all, give a sense of security upon your Aliyah.
Placement for Children Ages 0-21
Regardless of your family’s religious orientation, your child’s needs will be managed in a Jewish education framework. For many, this value alone is reason to explore Aliyah where there is a family member with a learning difference.
Getting Started: What is a Va’adat Hasama?
An updated evaluation from within 12 months of your targeted Aliyah date is necessary to begin the process to receive services and placement as necessary. Under the age of 21, this evaluation will be reviewed by the (local) Ministry of Education. The need for translation and knowing exactly which paperwork is necessary for review at the Placement Committee Review, a va’adat hasama is specific to municipality and need. For example, paperwork necessary for a child on the spectrum will be different than paperwork necessary for a child with dyslexia. Where applicable, a municipal coordinator can be very helpful in guiding what is necessary as well as when and where to turn for the va’adat hasama process.
Specialized preschools, resource room, a kita mikademet (class of typically 10 kids with various learning disabilities), or a special education environment due to cognitive impairment, all require a va’adat hasama. In Israel, paperwork must be submitted between February and May of the previous school year to receive the requested services and a va’ada hasama. For many reasons, including the understanding that parents wish to be present, many cities reserve specific summer dates for va’adot hasama to take place for new Olim. Nonetheless however, paperwork should be submitted between February – May. When the decision to make Aliyah prior to the upcoming school year is after May, the paperwork should be submitted as soon as possible.
A family’s physical location, religious orientation and personal requests will all be considered at the va’adat hasama. Should you not be present at your child’s va’adat hasama, you have the right to have a family advocate present as well as a translator if you wish.
The final stage is the process of placement. The Placement Committee, Va’adat Shibbutz will notify you as to where your child will receive the services that have been requested. There is a time frame in which this can be appealed, as necessary.
Navigating New Systems: Where to Turn?
Navigating a new system, in Hebrew, can be daunting. There are private educational consultants for hire and municipal coordinators to guide and assist. As always, NBN is available to answer your questions at email@example.com
Disability and Other Government Services
Will your child be eligible for any monies from the National Insurance Institute, Bituach Leumi or general services from any other government offices? The website Kol Zchut is an excellent resource with many of their articles translated into English. The Bituach Leumi website also has an English translation available. Disability based on physical, cognitive, emotional needs can be applied for only after arrival. Other helpful websites include NBN’S Special Education Resources for Disabilities and the Shira Pransky Project. Applying for general disability when arriving over the age of 18 will be influenced on one’s level of independence.
Placement for Adults 21+
An individual over the age of 21 will have a different experience when it comes to the process of placement for any daytime, vocational or residential programming. Prior to arrival, appropriate paperwork will be shared with the National Director for Social Services through the Ministry of Absorption and Integration for review. This review will provide awareness of an individual’s needs and appropriate programming. Upon arrival, the evaluation and placement process will continue through the municipal Social Services Department, called the Revacha.
Guidance with an educational consultant can be especially helpful when it comes to the process for placement and services for adults. Programming is generally funded by the state. The process for adult placement and services will most often not be immediate!
Thinking about how an individual will manage, where they will live, and any potential solutions until programming is secured is a crucial to pre and post Aliyah research and planning.
Olim are happy to discover that the programs and services offered in Israel often surpass what is offered in North America. Research and planning will lead to knowledge of the system that awaits you. Setting realistic goals and expectations will help minimize frustrations as you and your child settle into your new lives in Israel.
Not sure of your next step? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org