Give a Child a Family

 2,500 Jewish foster children in 43 years.

Is that a figure to be proud of, to be sad about, or it does it not signify any special meaning to readers?

OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services was founded on the premise that a Jewish child neglected or abused by his or her biological parents deserved a second chance to grow and nurture in a caring loving home.

Wherever feasible, every effort is made to support the biological parents to raise their child.

However, when decided by the court or other jurisdiction that the biological parent/s cannot and even in some cases voluntarily chose not to raise their own child(ren) – and keep them safe from harm – foster care becomes the best option for the child.

What do foster children want?

What every child wants and needs – a loving stable home where they can be safe, be nurtured, learn to trust and learn to love. This is how children thrive.

Around the world thousands, millions of children are neglected, abused, abandoned. For the 98% of people who are raising their own family, this issue does not hit their radar screen. Understandable.

Yet for the 1 in 7 couples who cannot bear children and for the many other families who are eager to open their homes to yet another child and enrich their own home, foster care and adoption is a viable win-win option.

This of course is not a Jewish issue.

Virtually every culture and religion enjoys a vibrant foster care and adoption system.

At times these are held hostage to political and non-humanitarian reasons such as those now waiting to adopt children from Russia – a process that is now being halted by Moscow as retaliation for an American law imposing sanctions on Russian officials for human rights violations. A shameful act of vengeance to punish the children. 

Two groups that are universally and especially hard to foster or adopt – are children with special needs and adolescents over the age of 13. Such children require an extra measure of care that fewer families choose to foster. Yet it is these very children who are in greatest need.

2,500 children fostered or adopted. To now attend weddings of children fostered at birth, at age 3, 10, 15 and to see them mature into independent individuals with loving families of their own – brings joy to so many. Foster parents, mental health professionals, educators, lay leaders – all who have worked to build a system of compassion and care share in these special moments.  

OHEL is eager to make it 2501, 2502, 2503.

Beautiful children all over the world eagerly await their turn at a life of normalcy.

Call OHEL or your local foster care agency.

Give the greatest gift of all.

Give a child a last name.

Give a child a family. 


About the Author
David Mandel is Chief Executive Officer of OHEL Children's Home and Family Services in New York