Szociális ellátás a Székelyföldön – múlt, jelen, jövőkép [Past, Present, and Future of Szeklerland’s Social Assistance System]
The subject of the book is one of the basic components of the social system, the social assistance network. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, I described the past, present, and future of Romanian social services and benefi ts, focusing on the Szeklerland area. I showed that for the acceptable functioning of modern, secularized, and urbanized societies the existence of an effi cient social assistance system is an absolute necessity, even if this sector usually receives less attention and consequently less social recognition than other sectors such as health or education. Reviewing the history of social assistance, I show that different forms of such activities have been constantly present in the society starting from the ancient times and including the role of Christianity and traditional rural communities.
In my research, I performed a close analysis of the social services system in Romania and the Szeklerland region, comparing data at the national, regional, and county level but also using data from Hungary’s social services system. The results of the research indicate a highly non-uniform development and distribution of social services at the national level and point out the role of non-governmental organizations and church-related organizations in services development. Relying on these data, an overdevelopment of the social services system in Szeklerland becomes visible as compared to other regions in Romania. Despite this advantage, the main problems remain the same at the national and regional (Szeklerland’s) level: underdevelopment of the community-based social services network and lack of a coherent development based on social policies and strategies for the social assistance system.