Child Development Center
There is no community-based, child development center in Ashkelon. This border town, just eight miles north of Gaza, has no integrated and comprehensive facility to serve the 14,000 children who are in Clalit’s care. Without a development center, children with autism, mental and physical delays and cerebral palsy must wait a year or more for occupational, physical and speech therapies. There are no current options for children with emotional or neurological disorders.
The center will serve Ashkelon and the towns, villages and kibbutzim up through Sederot, abutting the Gaza border. Centrally located and easily accessible, the new child development center will provide first-rate and comprehensive services to over 1,000 children each year – about 19,000 diagnoses and treatment sessions annually. For the first time, the center’s staff will include a pediatric neurologist, psychiatrist, nutritionist and social worker. It will also include occupational, physical and speech therapists – all told, a professional staff numbering over 25. The center will be open six days a week. The waiting time will be reduced from a year or more to just weeks.
The new center will cost $1,977,710 for a ten-year renewable rental, renovation and equipment. This grant will supplement Clalit’s contribution toward personnel, operational and therapeutic costs.