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Jewish Communities in U.S. Report Expansion of Welfare Programs

The Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds today issued a report showing considerable expansion of local health and welfare programs by Jewish communities throughout the United States and Canada.

“During 1950,” the report states, “Jewish communities gave increased attention to the development and co-ordination of institutional and non-institutional services for the aged. As part of this effort, 55 Jewish homes for the aged increased their bed capacity to 7,300–a rise of nearly 20 percent since the beginning of the previous year.”

Continuing the postwar trend, 51 Jewish hospitals reported an overall increase of about four percent in the number of patients under their care. During 1950. 366,079 persons were treated, in contrast to the 351,477 patients served the previous year. The largest increases were registered in hospitals for the chronically ill. The Jewish general hospitals served the community as a whole with admitted patients of Jews and non-Jews in about equal proportion.

Another significant fact revealed by the report was that hospitals under Jewish auspices were found in every city with a Jewish population of 30,000 and over, with Detroit now in the process of implementing a large-scale medical building program. A few cities with smaller Jewish populations are also maintaining Jewish hospitals.

This pattern of increased local services was maintained by Jewish family agencies throughout the country, the report added, despite a declining volume of immigration during 1951. Their programs consisted of two types of activity: resettlement and financial assistance to new Americans and counseling services to families which needed help with their problems. As a result of this two-fold effort, 42 family agencies served 9,888 cases in 1950–a net increase of 10 percent over the previous year’s total.

Declining immigration and a continuation of the long-term downward trend contributed to the 10 percent drop in the number of children receiving foster care in family homes or institutions during 1950. Despite this decline, the report pointed but, Jewish child care agencies were responsible for 5,384 youngsters during the year. Over half were helped through placement in private foster homes; another 25 percent in institutions; and the remainder in the homes of parents or other relatives.

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