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What are Social Services
Social Services is a branch of public sector, whose aim is to provide assistance and support to persons for the purpose of social inclusion and the prevention of social exclusion.

Social Services (sometimes also social affairs or according to COFOG Social protection) is a branch of public sector, whose aim is to provide assistance and support to persons for the purpose of social inclusion and the prevention of social exclusion. Social services can be roughly divided into social counseling, social assistance, social care and employment services.

Government spending, in EU member states, social services reach around 30% of their state budget. Most government spending on social affairs consists mainly of social benefits (individual social support) and expenditure on social services of collective character. Government spending on social services divide (according to COFOG) into:

  • Sickness and disability - provision of social protection in the form of cash or benefits in kind, which wholly or partially, replace persons’ lost income in the course of their work disability due to illness or injury, physical or mental harm
  • Old age - provision of social protection to senior citizens in the form of cash or benefits in kind against the dangers arising from old age
  • Survivors - provision of social protection in the form of cash or benefits in kind to survivors of deceased
  • Family and children - provision of social protection in the form of cash or in kind to households and families with dependent children
  • Unemployment - provision of social protection in the form of cash or benefits in kind to citizens who are able to work, willing to work but unable to find suitable employment
  • Housing - provision of social protection in the form of cash or benefits in kind, such as payments to help households meet the cost of housing
  • Social exclusion - provision of social protection in the form of cash or benefits in kind to citizens who find themselves in difficult situations (poverty, abandonment), or they face these risks. These are people with low income, immigrants, alcoholics, victims of criminal violence, etc.
  • R&D Social Protection - applied research and development in the field of social affairs and the creation and management of government policy
  • Social protection - cash or in-kind benefits provided to citizens who have temporarily found themselves in an extremely difficult situation due to a natural disaster or fire, contributions and loans designed to compensate for the loss of property due to fire, flood or other disasters in peacetime

Social service providers are in practice basically three main ones:

  • Nongovernmental non-profit organizations and individuals
  • State-established specialized organizations
  • Central and local government agencies and authorities - they provide agendas social counseling, assistance in material need, socio-legal protection of children, payment of various social benefits, pension payments, unemployment benefits, etc.

Social services and social prevention include:

  • Social counseling
  • Social and health services
  • Social rehabilitation
  • Personal assistance
  • Care service
  • Guides, reading and interpreting service
  • Early intervention services
  • Supported housing
  • Respite services
  • Day service centers
  • Day care centers
  • Housing for persons with disabilities
  • Elderly homes
  • Shelters
  • Halfway houses
  • Contact centers
  • Telephone crisis intervention
  • Emergency assistance
  • Drop-in day centers
  • Sheltered Housing
  • Low-threshold facilities for children and youth
  • Night shelters for homeless people
  • Aftercare
  • Social activation services for families with children
  • Therapeutic communities
  • Social outreach programs

Related terms and methods:

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Last update: 30.05.2016

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