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  • Writer's pictureAnnon

When it’s your job to care

Spending time in short term foster care

When young people come to Kav L’Noar, the intake assessment meeting is often their first ever contact with a social worker. Not so for Ella. Ella’s first meeting with a social worker had been when she was six years old. That’s what happens when your father has a serious psychiatric condition and your mother is violent. Ella and her siblings spent their childhoods in and out of the family home, spending time in short term foster care and boarding schools along the way. The family would get aid from welfare agencies since there was very little money coming in. Ella got through it all by counting down the days until her 18th birthday.  As an adult, she could finally leave her home and the welfare system and build a new life for herself.


As soon as Ella turned 18 and graduated high school, she made aliyah and enrolled in an Israeli seminary, on a full scholarship. The seminary staff were aware of Ella’s background and did their best to be flexible and supportive.  However, they quickly realized that they were out of their depth and Ella simply wasn’t coping. She had severe anxiety, and was starting to spiral down into a deep depression. They referred Ella to Kav L’Noar.

The social worker was a therapist that really seemed to care about her

Ella assumed that the Kav L’Noar therapist would have the same attitude towards her as all the other professionals she’d seen in the past. She felt that she was always just another name on a long list, a box to tick, someone to process once a week and send on their way. But at Kav L’Noar, Ella was surprised to find that the social worker was a therapist that really seemed to care about her even outside the session time. The first thing that the therapist did was to find Ella an external psychiatrist whom she felt that Ella would connect to.   The psychiatrist could prescribe medication to help counter the anxiety and depression. The therapist continued to liaise regularly with the psychiatrist about Ella and her progress.

After a few months, Ella left the seminary, and needed to find somewhere to live. Her therapist reached out to her own networks to try to help identify sources for accommodation and potential job opportunities. All of these extra gestures convinced Ella that she truly mattered to her therapist, and was far from just another file in a dusty cabinet.

She had never been honest about how bad she’d truly felt

It was only once she felt truly valued that Ella was willing to even start opening up to her therapist about the darkness that she felt regarding herself and her future. She revealed that even with all the interventions and attention that she had received over the years, she had never been honest about how bad she’d truly felt. Ella had always projected strength and determination to move onwards and upwards. She had never confided how desperate she was to avoid having children, for fear of repeating a family pattern, and how this meant she wanted to avoid relationships all together. She had never shared that she felt incapable of making a success of herself.  Deep inside, she believed her grand move to Israel was more of an empty gesture of escape than a dream of a new life.

As the months went by, she started to make real progress

Ella was never going to be a quick fix case, but as the months went by, she started to make real progress. The medication and routine of a new job stabilized her and she started to project more of a sense of optimism in the therapy sessions and even talk to her therapist about the possibility of dating one day. Ella’s Kav L’Noar therapist continues to support her on her journey forward.

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