Boxes of food for the poor.
(photo credit: LATET)
Every fifth household in Israel receives assistance from social services, accounting for some 1.3 million people, according to an end-of-the-year report released Wednesday by the Labor and Social Services Ministry.
The research division of the ministry published the findings, which included a handful of statistics regarding its welfare activities in numerous areas, including youth, the elderly and people with autism.
According to the report, half of the elderly population over the age of 75 and almost a fourth of youth, 22.6%, were registered with social services departments throughout the country in 2015.
The findings indicated that there are significant gaps between the periphery and the center of the country with regards to the number of people registered with welfare departments. In Beersheba and the South, 21.5% of residents are registered, while 19% of residents are registered in Haifa and the North. In comparison, only 15.3% of Jerusalem’s residents and 12.7% of the Center’s residents are registered with welfare departments.
The report noted that the ministry’s budget has grown by some 90% over the past decade, from NIS 3.1 billion in 2006 to NIS 5.9b. in 2015.
According to the report, the most common reason for referral to welfare departments, accounting for some 40%, was to report on children and youth at risk, followed by parents who were having difficulties.
The second most common reason, standing at 30%, was poverty and difficulty earning a living, followed by old age, disabilities and medical problems.
The findings further revealed that there was an increase of some 36% in the number of sexual offenders treated by the ministry, standing at 382 offenders receiving treatment.
The report also found that the rate of the autistic population registered with the ministry in 2015 has almost doubled from the previous year: 2,074 additional people registered as autistic in 2015, compared with 1,323 in 2014.
During the past decade, the number of people registered with the ministry as autistic grew more than four times, and in 2015 stood at some 12,530 people.
“We offer an array of social services that reflect the needs of the needy populations in Israel, with careful planning and resource allocation for the purpose of assisting in the best possible way,” Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz said.
“The central social challenges facing us are, among others, the treatment of youth at risk, preparedness for the increase in life expectancy and providing a response to senior citizens,” he said.
Katz added that in the coming year the ministry would increase support for youth at risk and expand the social services within the community for the elderly.