"Dror" (Freedom) – the first therapeutic emergency center for GLBT youth in Israel
"Dror" is a unique center for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender adolescents who have been rejected and alienated because of their sexual orientation.
The center is one of the unique solutions of the "Hassut HaNo’ar" authority of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, in cooperation with "Shahal", of the Tel-Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.
"Dror" is a temporary shelter providing basic home conditions for nine adolescents (male or female), for a period of no longer than six months. Besides offering a safe home, a warm bed and meals, it also provides psychological and moral/social support, direction in finding future longer-term solutions, as well as enrichment and educational activities. Crisis intervention and counseling are provided in a safe and welcoming environment by a professional, approachable and supportive team.
"Dror" is the first and only center designed to meet the needs of out-of-home GLBT youth in Israel, and one of the few similar institutions in the world operated by governmental organizations. The center was opened in May 2002. Until then, there were no special services offered to GLBT at-risk youth in Israel. Previous intervention attempts had failed due to a lack of knowledge, insensitivity to the specific needs of GLBT youth and generally negative attitudes among professionals. "Dror" became an important step in increasing public awareness and creating social change.
Male and female adolescents, 14-18 years of age, with gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender sexual identity. As a result of their sexual identity many of these adolescents:
- Have left their homes by choice or force, or were ejected from other institutions
- Need to be removed immediately from their family surroundings, due to past or possible future physical or mental abuse
- Are on the verge of running away from home.
- While wandering the streets, face the risk of crime, drug abuse and prostitution.
Goals and targets
- To provide immediate shelter and basic home conditions for homeless at-risk GLBT adolescents.
- To prevent their deterioration due to crime, drug-abuse, prostitution or suicide attempts. By staying at "Dror" their “street” hours and chances of facing these dangers are minimized.
- To provide crisis intervention and short-term therapy (personal and group). This includes counseling which focuses on examining personal experiences, reinforcing attitudes and behaviors aimed at self-acceptance, and to encourage an awareness of the purpose and meaning of life. All offered in a safe and supportive environment.
- To reduce anti-social behavior and to increase the possibility of creating trusting relationships with formal and informal figures, as well as with peers.
- To bridge and mediate between the adolescents and their families, under circumstances where returning home is a viable option (project run by "Noam").
- To plan personal, long-term, out-of-home placement solutions when returning home is not an option.
- To find an appropriate educational or occupational setting for each adolescent.
- To develop an information center on treating GLBT youth. This includes collecting data and increasing public knowledge and awareness on the various needs and characteristics of GLBT at-risk youth.
- To provide understanding and guidance to professionals working with GLBT youth in order to channel the professionals towards an attitude change and to help them improve their skills.
- To develop and expand out-of-home placement solutions and fostering services, as well as planning additional future support systems for homeless GLBT adolescents.
Paths of Referral to Beth Dror
Adolescents can refer themselves, based on information from friends, acquaintances, or through advertising and information bulletins.
Services that refer youth include:
- Therapeutic community services (services for girls in distress, youth welfare agencies, welfare workers, probation officers)
- Emergency services (police, first aid stations)
- Emergency hot-lines ("Eran" – psychological first aid; "The white line" – for the general GLBT community)
- "Elem" patrols and other GLBT organizations in Israel
“Beit Dror operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
It accommodates no more than nine adolescents at any one time.
Our policy is to allow the adolescents to stay for a period of no longer than six months. The staff and other community professionals will ensure that the out-of-home placement solution is appropriate for the educational and therapeutic needs of each youth.
"Dror" functions as a shelter, and provides basic home conditions including lodging, bathrooms, hygiene, health and food.
The center provides enrichment and educational programs according to the needs of the adolescent residents.
The adolescents follow binding/obligatory rules and norms as an inseparable part of the center's organizational structure. The adolescents are expected to take an active part in the home's maintenance and in its regular household tasks.
Initially the adolescents enter the center for diagnosis and evaluation. Only after the staff decides that a further stay at the center can help them, is a personal, individual plan created for each person.
The staff includes a manager, social worker, matron, educational guides and volunteers.
Our vision is to become a therapeutic, educational and social center for the entire GLBT youth population of Israel.