C.J.F.W.F. Reports Dramatic Shifts in Jewish Welfare Services

Significant new trends in the financing and services of Jewish health and welfare agencies since the end of World War II are reported by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds in its Yearbook of Jewish Social Services released today. The report also analyzes service and financial statistics for the year ending December 1961 in the fields of family, child, aged and hospital care, indicating shifts in sources of income and in demands for service.

The most dramatic service shift in the past 16 years occurred in the area of aged care and is reflected in the work of family service agencies and hospitals as well as of institutional homes for the old. Supplementary reports from about half of the Jewish family agencies in the country indicate that between 20 and 50 per cent of all families currently served brought with them some problems of the aged. To improve and expand in-community programs for the aged, many family agencies have set up new departments; others have assigned special workers to handle aged clients.

Jewish family agencies have pioneered in the development of new programs to reach and serve older people, the report states. Such programs include private resident (foster) home programs, special boarding homes, friendly visiting services, extension of homemaker and domestic services. Some also have instituted information and referral services to help older persons find the community resources they need.

In institutional homes for the aged, the 16 post war years have seen major expansions not only in the number of homes and their bed capacity, but also in the number and proportion of beds reserved for the chronically ill. In homes with modern services, in fact, infirmary facilities constitute between one half and two-thirds of the total bed complement.

NUMBER OF RESIDENTS IN 75 JEWISH HOMES FOR AGED DOUBLED

The number of residents in 75 reporting homes totalled nearly 12,000 by the end of 1961, or double their population in 1945. Three fourths of the income of homes for the aged now comes from payments by residents, although such payments often include government funds in the form of Old Age Assistance grants, social security benefits, etc. “This is a marked shift in income source since 1945 when only one-third of aged homes’ income came from residents’ payments,” the report stresses.

Today’s family agencies serve one-fourth more people than they did in 1946, but their total income has increased only four per cent in that time, the report points out. Part of this income lag is compensated by the sharp drop in financial aid to clients, due to the decline in numbers of immigrant families needing monetary assistance.

The period from the end of World War II to 1961 has seen an increase of about 80 per cent in the number of patients admitted to Jewish general hospitals. Even with the decrease in the average-patient days’ stay made possible by medical advances, the result has been a 60 per cent increase in days’ care during that period.

INCOME OF JEWISH HOSPITALS INCREASES; CHILD CARE DECLINES

The income of Jewish hospitals -both general and special–has increased more than four fold in the past 16 years. While Jewish federation contributions to hospitals has remained substantially the same -30 per cent of its total allocations for local services–the proportion of these funds to the hospitals’ total budget has decreased from approximately 10 per cent in 1946 to five per cent in 1961.

The combined federation and community chest allocations show a similar decrease: from 13 per cent in 1946 to six per cent in 1961. Payments for service, including Blue Cross and other prepaid insurance, continue to be the hospitals’ major source of revenue, remaining at about 80 per cent throughout this post war period. The major increase, proportionately, has been in income derived from public funds.

Child care agencies are serving 20 per cent fewer children today than they did in 1946, but they require more intensive service, because they are more disturbed. The number of children serviced, which had declined steadily until 1957 is now increasing slightly. Federation dollar grants have increased, but these had constituted half the funds used for child care services in 1946, and one-third in 1961. The difference has been almost entirely made up by government funds, although patterns of government assistance vary from state to state.

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