Major Preventive Welfare Programs and Best Practices: International Review


In recent years, countries worldwide have been emphasizing the development of preventive welfare services. This trend reflects the shift from an approach of providing treatment services to at-risk and disadvantaged populations to an approach seeking to prevent, reduce or delay welfare problems. According to this approach, decision-makers and service providers should initiate preventive welfare programs in order to promote service users’ well-being and quality of life, reduce existing problems and prevent the emergence of new ones, and strengthen at-risk populations.

Recently, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs initiated a process of shaping preventive welfare policy. To do so, the Ministry requested an international review from the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute.


The objectives of this review included: (1) Examine which evidence-based preventive care programs are currently active in different countries around the world for target populations, as defined by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs: young families, people with disability, older people, and children and youth at-risk, including children in residential care; (2) Identify best practices in providing preventive care services; and (3) Examine how these programs are measured and evaluated.


The review is based on three sources of information: (1) Academic literature; (2) Legislation in various countries; and (3) Open-access documents and manuals of various organizations that examine the effectiveness of preventive welfare programs.


The findings of this review are related to three aspects: theory, policy, and practice. Regarding theory, by definition, prevention policy has two main goals: (1) Promoting individual and family well-being while preventing, reducing, or delaying welfare problems, and in turn, seeking to influence broader population groups and communities in order to prevent social exclusion and inequality; (2) Reducing demand for welfare services, thereby decreasing the overload on existing services and improving them. Regarding Policy, preventive welfare services are anchored in welfare laws in various countries. These laws dedicate specific sections to prevention, and emphasize the importance of providing evidence-based programs. Practically, preventive care services involve unique practices related to both planning, such as identifying and mapping risk factors that could cause problems in individuals’ well-being, and implementation, such as emphasizing measurement and evaluation for the purpose of operating evidence-based programs.

Citing Suggestion: Porzycki, V., Dolev, H., & Hartal, M. (2023). Major Preventive Welfare Programs and Best Practices International Review. RR-944-23. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)