U.S. Jewish Communities Provide Wider Range of Local Services

The Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds released today a report showing that greater integration of community planning and resources marked the efforts of Jewish communities in 1953 to provide a wider range of local health and welfare services.

These services, the report stresses, included integrated programs for the Jewish aged and chronic ill, specialized care for seriously disturbed children, greater and improved facilities for medical care, and a shift in emphasis of family service agencies to provide counselling on marital and parent-child problems. Some of the highlights of the report establish the following facts;

1. A gain of more than 4 percent in the number of beds in hospitals and in homes for the aged. A similar gain has been noted in the number of people served–hospitals, 5 percent, homes for the aged, 4 percent.

2. A substantial and continuing decrease in the number of immigrants being aided by family service agencies has resulted in a shift of emphasis to serving native-born, middle class families. Despite the decrease in the number of immigrants being helped, the total number of cases in 1953 was about 45,000, slightly more than the previous year.

3. An 8 percent decline in the number of children accepted for care by children’s agencies in 1953. The number of children cared for in shelters and other institutional facilities still remains about one-third of the 7,000 children under care, about the same as in 1952. The others are cared for in foster homes or in their own homes. There is also a continuing trend towards providing specialized services for the more seriously disturbed Jewish children.

CARE FOR JEWISH AGED IS FOCAL POINT IN PLANNING

“Care for the aged continues to be the focal point in community planning as the proportion of people over 65 years of age continues to rise”, the report says. “There are two approaches to this problem. The first is to increase the facilities for the chronic ill and the aged through building of annexes and by new construction. The second method is the development of programs for the well aged, those who do not require institutional care. “

For the latter group community planning has evolved programs utilizing the services of homes for the aged, Jewish centers, family service agencies and other community facilities to provide the aged with an integrated program meeting their physical, recreational and emotional needs. Sixty-four homes for the aged, caring for the bulk of the nation’s aged in Jewish institutions, served more than 10,400 elderly people in 1953.

Every index of medical care offered by hospitals under Jewish auspices went up in 1953 according to the report. Information supplied to the CJFWF by 37 general Jewish hospitals showed more than 3, 800,000 days care given by these hospitals to approximately 440,000 patients, an increase of 4 percent over the previous year. Also 600,000 of the days care were on a free basis.

IMMIGRATION AID SHRINKS; EMPHASIS SHIFTED TO MIDDLE CLASS NEEDS

Previously planned expansion continued to show results in 1953. In Detroit, for the first time, a hospital was opened up under Jewish auspices. In Toronto and Providence new institutions were erected in 1953 to replace old, inadequate facilities. In other major cities, services were increased by adding new wings or other facilities to existing institutions or by remodelling old ones.

With the continued decline of immigrant caseloads, as a result of shrinking immigration, Jewish family agencies have been shifting their emphasis to meet moderate income, middle class needs. These center mainly on marital problems, parent-child relations and other areas of emotional stress where trained counselors can help root out problems and overcome difficulties.

Statistics of 67 family agencies, reporting for both 1952 and 1953, show that approximately 45,000 cases were served in 1953, a slight increase over the previous year. There was a continued decrease reported in financial assistance given by family service agencies. This was due largely to the diminishing numbers of refugees being cared for and the changing nature of the caseloads.

While the decline was almost 5 percent, it still amounted to approximately $1, 500, 000. In addition to this, the New York Association for New Americans gave out approximately $665,000 in financial aid, a figure which was less than half of the previous year’s expenditures.

The number of admissions to Jewish child care agencies in 1953 resumed the downward trend which has been the experience in the post-war period. This downward trend was interrupted only in 1952 when a sharp rise took place. Some 52 agencies reporting for both 1953 and 1952, indicated a drop of approximately 8 percent in the number of admissions in 1953.

The total number of children under care of these agencies during 1953 was over 7,000. More than two-fifths of these children were cared for in foster homes, another one-third in institutions and the remainder in the homes of parents or relatives. While admissions had dropped in 1953 by 8 percent, the total number of children under care the same year decreased by only 4 percent, the CJFWF report says.

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