The Holy Child Program is the only therapeutic day treatment program in the West Bank that serves children with severe behavioral and emotional problems who are unable to attend “regular” mainstream schools because of their personal issues. These children are some of the most vulnerable and often alienated among the general population in Palestine. Additionally, lack of success and mental health issues place them at risk to engage in problematic behavior if left untreated. While at the Holy Child Program, these children are able to experience success not only in the classroom but at home and in the community.
Each student in the Holy Child Program is recognized as a holy child, a child with potential waiting to be recognized and developed. An individualized curriculum is developed for each child in every subject and continuously revised based on his or her unique strengths and needs.
Social Skills Training
In addition to the individualized academic curriculum, we also offer the “Incredible Years Program”, which teaches problem-solving skills, increases emotional and social competence as well as reduces aggressive, disruptive behaviors. The classroom program is held four times a week in every class. The Holy Child Program was one of the first in the Middle East to implement “The Incredible Years”, which is an internationally renowned evidence-based treatment program. (For more information visit: www.incredibleyears.com).
We believe that each child is part of a larger ecological system, the family, and in order to treat the child, we must collaborate with the entire family network. As a part of the program, parents participate in the healing process by attending family counseling, participating in the Incredible Years Parenting Program and practicing home activities related to fostering healthy family dynamics. Parents groups are offered weekly and individual or family therapy is available and recommended as needed. As the child makes progress in school, the entire family makes progress at home. In essence, to serve the child is to serve the family; in serving the family, we serve the local and larger community as each family lives what they have learned, increasing the cumulative societal gain.
Our Belief System
The beliefs and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church provide the framework within which the services of the Holy Child Program are offered. Specifically, our Franciscan spirituality calls us to work with the most vulnerable and alienated populations. The Holy Child Program, as the Catholic Church’s agent in this work, embraces these children, who often feel like they are failures in their community. It is the everyday experiences of the children learning, working, playing, and celebrating together in the school atmosphere that transform alienation and vulnerability into strength and joy.