The Knesset approved on preliminary reading the bill The Youth Law (Care and Supervision) (Amendment – Select a friend and a sponsor of considering country of origin and native tongue of the minor), 2012, by MKs Marina Solodkin and Shlomo Molla (Kadima).

According to Section 6 of the Youth Law (Care and Supervision), in choosing a guardian and a foster home for a minor in need, the religion of the minor will be taken into consideration. The bill came to determine that alongside the religion of the minor, attention will be given to the country of origin and native tongue of the minor place in choosing a guardian and foster home.

The explanatory notes to the bill statied that ”in many cases social services do not take into account the cultural background of the minors, as they exert the powers vested in them by the Youth Law (Care and Supervision) of 1960, such as determining a foster home, providing a guardian and so on. Accordingly, there are situations in which children of Russian-speaking families or families that speak Amharic were placed with families that spoke only Hebrew, and so on.

Removing a minor from his biological parents without considering of his or hers cultural background and way of life of the biological family, could cause additional trauma that is often no less severe than the trauma caused by removing the child removed from his or hers parents. In addition, the transfer into an environment with a different lifestyle and different language leads to full disconnection from the biological family, even in cases where parents are allowed to visit their child and keep in touch with him or her, and makes it very difficult to return the biological family.

The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that a child removed from parents will be placed into an environment in which a language familiar to him or her is spoken, with a way of life identical or similar to the life he or she knows, and thus ease the trauma of being removed from his or her home, prevent the complete isolation from his or hers biological family and facilitate the process of returning home.”

14 MKs supported the proposal, which passed unopposed. The bill will be transferred to the House Committee, which will decide which committee will prepare the bill a first reading.