Out-of-home placement of children with intellectual disability: Israeli-born parents vs. new immigrants from the ex-USSR

Ilana Duvdevany, Helena Vudinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the policy of deinstitutionalization encourages parents to raise a child with development disability at home, professionals are becoming increasingly aware of these parents' care-giving roles. Immigrant parents from the ex-USSR who have children with developmental disabilities are potential clients for placement, but to date, the tendency in Israel to out-of-home placement by immigrant parents, compared with Israeli-born parents, has not been studied. The placement variables were examined as a function of place of birth, emotional stress and social support. The sample was 100 parents who have children aged 6-21 years with mild to moderate mental retardation (according to the American Association on Mental Retardation definition) who live at home. Fifty parents were immigrants (arrived in Israel after 1990) and 50 were Israeli-born. They live in the region of Haifa and the north of Israel. The following measurements were carried out: (1) Demographic Questionnaire for data such as place of birth, age, socioeconomic status, etc., (2) Questionnaire of Resources and Stress, (3) Family Support Scale and (4) Out-of-Home Placement Questionnaire. The results showed that parents' readiness to apply for out-of-home placement proved to be related to their stress level and child's age, regardless of their origin (immigrants or Israeli-born) and regardless of social support resources. The older the children with mental retardation and the higher the stress levels felt by their parents, the higher was these parents' potential to apply for out-of-home placement. Immigrant parents tended to report a significantly higher level of stress than Israeli-born parents. No difference was found in the social support resources available to both research groups. Immigrant parents' stress level was higher as the child's mental retardation level was more moderate and their time in Israel was longer. Stress level among Israeli-born parents was higher among those who were religious, were of lower socioeconomic status and/or when, in addition to the mental retardation, the child suffered from other medical problems. In conclusion, families with children with mental retardation should be referred to services in an integrative way, regardless of the origin of the children's parents. Professionals must increase their own awareness of parents' level of stress and its impact on their readiness to apply for out-of-home placement. Recommendations for practical work and for future researches are made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Coping
  • Developmental disability
  • Emotional stress
  • Immigration
  • Mental retardation
  • Out-of-home placement
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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