JF&CS News Spring 2011

Families in Haifa, Israel will soon have a new source of support: the Boston Haifa Parent Partnership Program (P3). Designed with expertise from JF&CS CEO Sy Friedland, our board member Don Wertlieb, and professionals and volunteers from other Boston Jewish agencies, P3 is a parent-focused program for families with children at risk that is the result of a collaboration between social service professionals in Boston and its sister city.

"It is always exciting to come here and do this work. We have a good working relationship with our Israeli colleagues, and there is an openness to new ideas that is really refreshing," said CEO Sy Friedland, PhD, after a recent trip to Israel.

P3 is an exciting new venture that is part of a national roll-out of the Schmid Initiative, an array of human services programs addressing the needs of a growing number of children and youth experiencing challenges and problems in their social, emotional, and academic development.

But while there are a number of programs for children ages six and up in Israel, the Boston Haifa Parent Project was developed specifically to engage parents and to focus on an underserved group: children ages zero to six.

Two neighborhoods are the focus of P3 in Haifa: Bat Galim and Kiryat Eliezer. They were chosen partly because "they are more reflective of what Israel is becoming, not as homogenous," said Sy.

Home to a variety of ethnic and economic groups including veteran Israelis, Russian immigrants, and Arabs, the areas are also distinct because of geography, bounded on one side by the Mediterranean and on the other by the base of the Carmel Mountain.

Now in the pilot preparation stage, P3 is one more way JF&CS is reaching out to other communities and helping families around the world.

"In joining with our professional colleagues and the parents of young children in two of Haifa's most challenging neighborhoods, we extend and enrich our strategic global reach on all fronts - innovating responsive services, integrating best practices and policy reforms across the US and Israel, and scaling up for wider and deeper impacts," said Dr. Donald Wertlieb, JF&CS board member and Tufts Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, who is serving as a volunteer and consultant for the project.

The Parent Partnership is part of a long tradition of programs for children that have sprung from the partnership between JF&CS, the Boston Haifa Connection, and the city of Haifa.

"This initiative is a natural extension of the agency's work in Israel that began with a single family treatment center 15 years ago," said Sy, who has been instrumental in the effort since its inception.

The innovative treatment center worked with whole families, not just individual children, and was so successful that it became a model for 24 other sites in Israel.

Other successes in Israel include services based on the JF&CS Lauren and Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® program, a nationally acclaimed program for pregnant women and new mothers who are adjusting to expanding families. The model was used to launch "Mom to Mom" in Jerusalem and "The Nest" in Haifa.

"Our leadership in these cutting-edge enterprises benefits our agency, our partners, and the families we serve around the world," said Dr. Wertlieb.

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.