The Mother/Child Unit is a rehabilitation residential facility within the Home for the care of malfunctioning mothers together with their infants and young children.
Many of the abusive and neglectful mothers have the potential to raise their children without putting them at risk, and provide them a fair environment to develop normally.
Malfunctioning mothers are almost always themselves the victims of abuse and neglect. As a result of their histories and lack of support systems,they fa il to create adequate homes for their children.
After many years of treating children that were taken out of their homes. we came to the conclusion that many mothers would be able to care appropriately for their children if given the chance to recover in a suitable environment with the suitable treatment.
The Mother/Child Unit was established by the Shabtai Levi Home as an experimental project in 2004 with the participation of the Israeli Ministry of Welfare and the support of the Jewish Community of Greater Toronto.
It is the first service of its kind in Israel. A family can stay for 14 months with the possibility of extension if needed. A mother can stay in the unit with up to three children,aged from birth to 6 years. We started with only three mothers,and we are now at capacity with 8 mothers and their children. Success is such that we now have a wait list and need to establish a transitional unit.
The Goals of the Unit are:
Protecting the child without separation from its mother
Rehabilitating the mother/child relationship
Laying the foundation for future rehabilitation of the mother in the community, in terms of child-raising, household management,economic responsibility and orientation toward working outside the home
Very intensive, friendly intervention that is conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week by caregivers, with the help of volunteers. This is necessary because extremely neglectful mothers do not care for their infants in the night and even abuse them at the beginning of their stay in the Unit.
Evaluation and intensive treatment by social workers and psychologists and diagnosis by outside agencies.
The caregivers and the social workers support the mothers. coach and facilitate processes between mothers and children,and set boundaries when needed. Social workers meet the mothers for psychotherapy, dyadic treatment with their children and discussions about family management. The treatment is very intensive and each segment of behaviour is used as a basis for discussion, evaluation and treatment.