'1 in 5 families listed with welfare services'

More than 60% of Ethiopian immigrant families received treatment from social services in 2010, Welfare Ministry says.

January 16, 2012 16:32
1 minute read.
Poor woman [illustrative]

A poor woman poverty impoverished homeless 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

More than 447,000 families - one in every five Israeli households - received treatment from social welfare services in 2010, marking a dramatic increase over the past decade in the number of people needing help for a wide range of debilitating social problems, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services reported Monday.

While the figures are on par with those from the previous year, they mark a dramatic increase over the past decade in the number of people and children needing help for a wide range of debilitating social problems.

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Compiled by the ministry’s Research, Training and Planning Division, the figures show a dramatic increase from 298,000 families who received welfare treatment in 1998 to more 447,300 families in 2010.

As well as showing increased demands for social services in recent years, the report also lists key reasons people sought help in 2010. Among them, were difficulties in parenting or behavioral problems with youth, which accounted for 35.2 percent of all case files; poverty or unemployment made up 34.4%; 33.3% dealt with elderly people considered at risk; disabilities both mental and physical were 31.9% of case files; violence against children or domestic violence in general was 4.1%; and alcohol or other addictions, drugs, prostitution or imprisonment accounted for 3.6% of all files.

The report also revealed an unusually high number of Ethiopian immigrants receiving treatment. From within the 110,000-strong community, the report found that 61.4% had open files with social services and even among those in the  second generation the chances of them having met with a social worker was twice as high as those outside the community.

Also cause for concern was the large percentage of Arab families receiving support from welfare services. Some 25% of Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs were seen by social workers in 2010, compared to only 15.8% of the Jewish population.

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