Head of Social Workers' Union warns: 'Welfare services on the brink of collapse'

Inbal Hermoni, head of Social Workers' Union, warns across-the-board budget cuts may lead to collapse of social services.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

hands, elderly
hands, elderly

Social Workers' Union Chairwoman Inbal Hermoni on Monday morning sent a warning letter to Finance Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli (Labor), warning them that social services are on the brink of collapse due to the coronavirus crisis and the expected budget cuts.

"The State of Israel is in the midst of a social services crisis," she wrote. "This can be seen by the overload in the number of families being managed by each social worker (between 100-400 families per social worker), by the acute lack of workers, with 1,000 social worker positions waiting to be filled, by the lack of resources and response in the community, the closure of frameworks providing services, the lack of response to tenders which the Welfare Ministry puts out to outsource services, and more."

"The coronavirus crisis brought with it a rise in the number of unemployed, as well as a rise in the emotional stress for the entire population, a deterioration in the mental state of populations which suffer emotional and functional problems during normal times, a rise in problems in parental functioning, in the violence...in family units, a rise in the number of people addicted to dangerous substances, and in general a dramatic rise in the number of families who require aid from social services and an increase in the needs of families which were already receiving social services before the crisis.

"During this period, we are again witness to how crucial social work and social services are to maintaining the the fabric and strength of society and handling the national challenges facing the State of Israel. We were therefore horrified to hear that cuts are expected to the number of positions and the resources of the Welfare Ministry at this time! At this time the response and the aid budgets should be expanded in order to allow Israeli society to cope during this difficult time, and certainly there should not be cuts which will come at the expense of the residents of the entire State of Israel, especially at the expense of the weaker populations which require aid now, more than ever.

"It is my obligation to warn the State of Israel regarding the threat that social services will collapse, which will have serious consequences and almost certainly also cause a loss of life," she concluded.