Personal Social Services – 2007
Author: Yaakov Kop Policy Research

The personal social services are among the mainstays of Israel’s social-service system. They provide crucial responses to the problems and needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities that cannot cope easily, if at all, with forms of distress that impair their functioning, quality of life, and social integration.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, and the municipal welfare departments, are responsible for developing the services, determining their contents, and financing them. Responsibility for the delivery of most services, in contrast, has long belonged to nongovernmental organizations, including volunteer organizations (NPOs) and private businesses.

The personal social services provide various types of assistance for a wide range of population groups, including children and teens at risk, seniors and others with disabilities, families in distress and crisis (including single-parent and immigrant households), the mentally retarded, alcoholics and drug addicts, and the homeless. Thus, these services focus on assisting the population groups that constitute society’s weakest and the most vulnerable links.

The following review and examination of the state of Israel’s personal social services includes three main parts. Part 1 briefly describes developments in government expenditure for these services in recent years. Part 2 focuses on main issues that occupy these services. Part 3 explores two of these issues at greater length: how the municipal welfare services are coping with the poverty problem, and inequality among locations, especially between Jewish and Arab ones, in the personal social services that their populations receive.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2007.

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