Advocacy and Outreach
AKIM serves as legal guardian to approximately 1,300 developmentally disabled people who have been abandoned, orphaned or taken out of their parents’ custody.
AKIM’s Guardianship Program seeks to provide its wards with a quality of care and assistance which may have been overlooked. Each week AKIM sends a visitor to inspect the person’s physical condition, health, social life, work and leisure time. Each visitor brings a parcel for the disabled person according to their desire and needs and subject to the visitor’s budget. The visitor also takes the person out into the community and on trips of interest and pleasure and provides vital companionship which many of these people otherwise lack.
Promotion of Rights
AKIM fights for the preservation and advancement of individual and family rights.
Legislation — AKIM works with local municipalities, the national government and its Ministries to ensure that those with disabilities and their families have comprehensive rights. AKIM has played an important role in collaborating with the government for passage of key legislation for the developmentally disabled, including:
- Endorsing the Ministry of Education’s policy of longer school days.
- Improving staffing standards in institutes.
- Lobbying to provide a financial safety net for those living at home.
- Examining the laws and regulations regarding employment in cooperation with the business sector.
- Reducing the size of groups in hostels.
- Lobbying to include modern psychiatric drugs in the health basket of the 2006 national budget.
- Working with the government to ensure increased funds for leisure activity clubs.
- Petitioning for transportation for children and for adults to get to work.
Outreach — AKIM has played an essential role in changing the attitude of the wider society towards the developmentally challenged.
- In schools — AKIM developed a study program for all students to learn about those with developmental disabilities.
- Media — AKIM has increased the media’s exposure of this population’s abilities and unique qualities by promoting human interest stories.
- Community Volunteering — the developmentally disabled work to improve their communities, including volunteering in the IDF, in old-age homes, etc.
- Community Exhibition and Performances — To further educate the public about this population, AKIM sponsors exhibits and performances throughout Israel.
Resource Book for Parents — AKIM has created a guide book for parents of children with developmental disabilities. This invaluable resource outlines their rights on the local and national level and provides guidance regarding available services and financial assistance.
Parents for Parents — As the laws and resources relating to those with developmental disabilities become more complex and diverse, families find that they need more assistance navigating the system and getting first hand referrals and friendly advice. As a result, AKIM established a hotline for parents, staffed by volunteer parents and accompanied by lawyers and other professionals. Each volunteer is trained in providing general counseling, information referral and support on a variety of issues, including education, right to allocation, guardianship, and employment. The managing lawyer remains in contact with local authorities to maintain the rights of families seeking help.
AKIM’s Legal Department leads the struggle in the courts for establishing legally binding, appropriate standards for those with developmental disabilities.
Among AKIM’s successes are the following:
- Special education beginning at the age of three.
- Welfare Law compelling the state to find a proper home for everyone who needs protected housing.
- Minimum wage regulations for the developmentally disabled.