Integrating Social Services for Vulnerable Groups

Bridging Sectors for Better Service Delivery

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All OECD countries have vulnerable populations in need of multiple service supports. And although the needs of vulnerable families, children and youth with mental health issues, the homeless, and the frail elderly can vary widely, the challenges government face when delivering multiple social supports to these groups are often similar. This book looks at the ways in which governments design and deliver integrated social services to vulnerable groups and the opportunities and challenges this brings. For each vulnerable group, the book addresses questions like: How are social services being integrated? How are vulnerable groups defined in different countries and how do populations compare? Why integrate service for vulnerable groups? It highlights pathways towards successful integration practices, and summarizes the evidence on good practice and promising common practices from across all of the vulnerable groups.



Integrating service delivery for vulnerable groups

This chapter provides the conceptual framework for the integration of social services. It defines different forms and levels of integration and outlines the rationale for integrating social services for vulnerable populations with complex, and often acute, service needs. It then presents the potential benefits of integrated services for both service users and providers from a general perspective, including cost effectiveness and cost savings, better access to, and take-up of social services, and improved service quality and service use outcomes. The chapter concludes by discussing barriers to effective integration, such as fiscal federalism and incentives for shifting costs and/or clients between providers, uncertainty in outcomes, challenges related to service administration and joint working between providers, data sharing and stigma.


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