Young Mothers At-Risk

This is ELEM has been assisting young mothers at-risk for decades, but due to a growing need, a program to meet their needs exclusively has been created.

According to Israel’s Central Statistics Bureau, in 2021 there were more than 2,000 young women (ages 18-24) who are defined as single mothers of children under the age of three. This demographic often does not get adequate assistance from social services and, especially those at-risk, can easily fall between the cracks of society. Even though these women are at-risk youth themselves, their parental or marital status can deem them ineligible for the assistance they could get as individuals.

Further, the assistance that at-risk young mothers receive primarily focuses on the child. As many of the needs of the mother are unmet, both she and her child can become vulnerable, fueling the cycle of poverty and social exclusion. Without proper support systems, these women are often victims of sexual violence, homelessness and substance abuse.

What is the Young Mothers Program?

 The Young Mothers Program provides at-risk young mothers with personal mentors to help develop skills for independent living such as preparation for the job market, securing housing and maximizing their government benefits. The program also advocates for broad policy changes.

Where do we operate?

The program currently operates in two regional centers in Central and Southern Israel.  Beyond the two centers, ELEM’s programs in Petach Tikva, Dimona, and Eilat are the only community-based services that cater to at-risk young Israeli mothers.

The COVID Impact

COVID-19 has made young mothers even more vulnerable. As their employment opportunities are mostly limited to temporary and part-time positions, they were the first to lose their jobs during the pandemic, and faced additional problems due to quarantine restrictions and isolation.


  • ELEM is the leading NGO aiding young mothers at-risk.
  • The Young Mothers Program currently serves 150 mothers, up from 30 mothers in 2020. 
  • The Program launched the first cycle of the Technology Training Initiative that provides young mothers with on-site job training (OJT.) We expect 10% of the mothers to be employed by the end of 2022.
  • ELEM is working on broad policy changes by building professional partnerships, establishing a cross-sector coalition, and advocating for innovation in employment and housing to benefit young mothers. In 2022 the coalition fought to advance housing solutions for young mothers, and we’ve seen some progress made.

“I find myself skipping meals. When I go to the supermarket I almost always need to choose what to invest the money in. A mother shouldn’t have to choose between eating or feeding her baby and saying 'yes' to accompanying a man just so she can afford baby food.”

L.19, A Young Mother at-risk

Expansion and Development Goals

In 2022, ELEM plans to open two new centers in the North and South of Israel to offer customized services for at-risk young Arab mothers, as well as open a program for at-risk young fathers.

The Young Mothers At-Risk Program has a variety of goals, including: increased humanitarian aid, training for mothers, outreach to new populations, hiring additional staff, and conducting research to evaluate and improve the existing model. The program also aims to expand its lobbying initiative to mobilize public opinion and change legislation.