a1 Paul Baerwald School of Social Work, Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel.
This article reports a study of the social networks of recent applicants to the social welfare bureaux of Jerusalem. Beyond review of the relevant study variables as reflected in the literature, and an overview of Israeli social services for the aged, the article addresses why the social networks of the elderly claimants turned to formal assistance. The study revealed that networks were most likely to be the source of referral to social services when the applicant was frail, and the presenting problem was the need for institutional care. Multivariate analysis revealed that the degree of network-initiated contact with the social worker was significantly related to these same factors. Networks of the elderly seemed to turn to formal social services as a substitute for their own caregiving, rather than as a source for interweaving informal and formal care. The implications of the findings for social service policy are discussed.