Relationships between parents/families and staff in the Miftanim
Miftanim is the plural of Miftan, a Hebrew acronym for Vocational Training Scheme for Youth. The Miftanim are schemes that use a therapeutic day, with vocational and academic orientation. This study explores the areas and levels of the involvement of parents/families in their child’s education in the Miftanim including the needs and contributions of both parents and staff to the relationship. It also explores the reasons parents are involved and the reasons staff involve the parents; who the initiators of the involvement are and in what issues; the influence of the involvement on the stakeholders, the child, the parents and the staff, the issue of benefits and harms in the involvement; the barriers to involvement of both parents and staff and the attitude of the staff towards involvement. The study ends with recommendations, presents a model for involvement in the Miftanim and suggests further research in this area. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used in the study, including a survey which encompassed 17 Miftanim and two cases studies. The methods used were questionnaires, interviews and analysis of documents. There was a 71 percent response rate to the survey, and 21 participants were interviewed. The findings of this study show that the parents are slightly involved in their child’s education, mostly by phone calls made when behavioural problems arise. Parental involvement in the Miftanim is mostly “to put out fires”. The main reason for parents to be involved is the child’s success, while the involvement is mostly initiated by staff. Involvement influences the child, the parents and the staff and it is both beneficial and harmful. Barriers to involvement, mostly found by the staff, stem from the demographic details of the parents.