“I did not know there was another life”: Meanings of life in the out-of-home Mothers Unit reunification programme

Dafna Tener*, Yoa Sorek, Ella Schwartz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Mothers Unit is a reunification and treatment programme in a welfare emergency centre in Israel. The unit is the only one in Israel offering joint residence for mothers at risk of abusing or neglecting their children. The unit provides an alternative to out-of-home care for young children suffering from maltreatment in order to enable them and their mothers to return to the community together at the end of the treatment. The current qualitative study examines the lived experiences of the women and their children from the subjective perspective of the women currently or previously involved in the programme and of the professionals working with them. Thematic analysis of 36 in-person semi-structured interviews reveals the multiple meanings they attribute to life in the Mothers Unit and its perceived effects on their children and themselves.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was approved by the Ethics Committees of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services. Trustworthiness was achieved by peer debriefing, member check, and audit trails (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). The first two authors—both experienced in the field of child abuse and qualitative research methods—analysed the data separately and jointly.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • alternatives to out-of-home care
  • child maltreatment
  • families at risk
  • reunification
  • welfare services


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