Contemporary urban society has moved so decisively toward providing a network of social service agencies to cover the population's essential needs that people have come to depend upon their availability; yet these agencies frequently lack the coordination among themselves to serve a community effectively. Patchy knowledge of procedures, long waiting periods and confusing eligibility screening, combine to create the impression of structured isolation between agency and client, thereby increasing frustration. In the absence of regular inter-agency exchange, an individual agency lacks the total picture of the gaps and overlaps in available services which is necessary if it is to provide an adequate referral service. When a gap in services is pinpointed, expansion of services is hampered because of grant requirements which base funding on the number of people served: for example, a local drug clinic funded on the basis of the number of people in a methadone programme was blocked from expanding outreach programmes where funds were scarce. The service extended to recipients, in effect, became maintenance rather than rehabilitation.
Until agencies are able to coordinate plans for their service to the community their fragmentation will block effective delivery of services to the urban ghetto community.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
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