The Forum of Community Child Development Departments
Research shows that the period of time in which children breastfeed (from birth to three years of age) and begin preschool (ages three to six) is critical for the nurture and care that has a far-reaching effect on the rest of a person’s life. Consequently, local authorities and philanthropic organizations have begun to recognize the critical importance of early childhood care and have been working together to establish departments to that end. These departments consist of staff whose job it is to detect any issues requiring special attention among young children.
Each department functions independently and handles its own professional and budgetary issues. However, the departments still depend on the philanthropic organizations as they would not be able to survive financially for long without private support. The State of Israel has only taken minimal responsibility for the management of these departments through the HMOs, supervising them through the Health Ministry.
Together with the Steinmetz Foundation and the Rashi Foundation, representatives of the child development departments established a nationwide forum to achieve the following objectives:
- Improve early childhood care
- Give preschoolers access to proper, quality care in accordance with their needs
- Have policymakers recognize the importance of early childhood care so that they allocate state funds to the departments
- Provide the departments’ staff with professional enrichment programs
- Improve the departments’ viability and financial stability so that they can continue to provide quality services