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An Interview with Sandy Cardin on Haruv's 10th Anniversary

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This interview first appeared in a special supplement in Haaretz on the occasion of the Haruv Institute’s 10th anniversary. Haruv is Israel's leading training and research center and one of the preeminent institutions worldwide in the field of child abuse and neglect. The Institute was established in 2007 to train professionals, paraprofessionals, researchers, parents and children on the prevention, identification, treatment and rehabilitation of abused and neglected children, and to develop and disseminate advanced professional knowledge in Israel and throughout the world.


Haaretz: Can you tell us why the Haruv Institute was created?

Sandy Cardin: The prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect has been a primary focus of the Schusterman Family Foundation since our founding 30 years ago. We drew both inspiration and motivation from the traumas and challenges Lynn witnessed first-hand in 1963 as a volunteer at a children’s shelter run by the police department in her hometown of Tulsa, OK. Those experiences deeply affected Lynn, and she vowed as a young mother to always advocate, protect and support the most innocent and vulnerable among us.

That commitment led to our involvement with the Parent-Child Center of Tulsa in 1994 and another local institution, the Child Abuse Network (CAN), a few years later. In fact, it was while partnering with CAN that we decided to try to export their interdisciplinary, single-location approach to the treatment of child abuse and neglect to Israel. Shortly thereafter, the first Beit Lynn child protection center opened its doors and began serving the victims of abuse and their families in a building in Jerusalem. 

Within their first few months of operation, the leadership of Beit Lynn realized they had a major problem: there were simply not enough professionals who were adequately trained in the many disciplines—therapeutic, legal, medical, social work and more—needed to service a fully operational facility capable of serving all those in need of help. 

For Beit Lynn to realize its full potential, we understood we needed to support the training of hundreds of people across a range of disciplines in a manner that no existing organization or academic institution was prepared to pursue. 

That is when we decided to create the Haruv Institute and, given the daunting task ahead of us, committed to doing more than just establish a place to prepare Israelis to work at Beit Lynn; we resolved to establish a world-class center of excellence capable of providing best-in-class training and research for child maltreatment professionals all over the world. 

Which of its goals, in your opinion, have been achieved?

I am thrilled to be able to say that Haruv has achieved all the goals we established for its first decade. It has become a world-class center in the prevention and treatment of child maltreatment. It has developed expertise in training the professionals needed to staff Beit Lynn—so much so that we were able to create the entire Beit Lynn network with eight centers across Israel. It is providing training, research and new methodologies to professionals all over the world, from the US, to China and even in Madagascar. Finally, and most recently, it established the Haruv Children’s Campus at Hebrew University as a model of a child-centered approach to treatment in one fully integrated location, where services, treatment and research occur under one roof.

In many ways, Haruv has exceeded our highest expectations and is truly one of the great success stories in the history of our foundation. 

And yet, the scourge of child abuse and neglect persists, and so does our work.

What do you see as the goals for Haruv in the future? 

As long as child maltreatment exists, the goal for Haruv will be to work toward its eradication. Sadly, I don’t expect Haruv to be able to close its doors any time soon. That means it will have to continue to find new and better ways to advocate for children and their families, to search for the best ways to treat those affected and to find the most cost-effective way to continue training professionals working in the field. 

To date, Haruv has embraced the concept of the “adjacent possible”—which means that through innovative work in one area, you can expand what is possible in other areas. Put differently, it asks the question, “Now that I'm here, what can I do that I couldn't do before?” We see Haruv’s success as having expanded the adjacent possible in areas far beyond what we could have imagined when it began a decade ago. 

In the coming years, we will continue to partner with Haruv to achieve excellence in the field of child maltreatment and to work toward a vision in which children and families are no longer suffering from abuse and neglect. The specifics of how and in what areas that vision manifests will be determined by Haruv, its leadership and its professionals. After all, what makes Haruv successful is not the financial support we contribute, but rather the intellectual resources and dedication the team brings to its work. As Lynn Schusterman is fond of saying, “We make it possible but they make it happen.” The professionals at Haruv, led very skillfully by Professor Asher ben-Arieh, are leading experts in their field, and they are the reason we are so optimistic about its future. 

How committed is the Foundation to the field of child maltreatment in the future?

We are very committed. It is at the center of the work we are doing in Tulsa, where we have helped to open an outpost of Haruv to better support the field in the US, and it continues to be at the core of our philanthropic agenda here in Israel. This issue, and working toward a vision in which all children have the opportunity to grow up in a safe, secure setting, has been of great importance to Lynn and Charlie since the creation of the Foundation and is a passion shared by their daughter, Stacy. I believe it will be an important part of our philanthropic agenda as long as children continue to suffer from abuse and neglect.