Social Protection is aimed at the provision of welfare and the qualityof a person’s life. It isconsisting of various programs provided by the State with the purpose to decrease the conseqences of socialy recognized risks such as illness, age, disability, unemployment etc.These programs include different kinds of financial benefits ( theretirement income, the compensation in the case of unemployment, the social welfare etc.) and services for elderly, children, families etc.. Social protection is aimed at improvement ofsocial status of citizentsin theirpersonal, family and wider socialsphere of life. It is supposed to empower social cohesion and nurture independence and capability of individuals to help themselves.

Social protection in Serbia is based on two groups of programs: financial aid and social welfare services. In the system of social security we also have child protection and retirement and disability insurance.

Financial aid is intended for persons in great financial need with no means for fulfilment of basic living necessities. There are those who continuously have low income and there others who usualyhave enough means for leading a decent life but in certain situations, such as natural disasters or severe illnesses,they are in need for material aid.

Within the financial aid provided by the State in Serbia, mostly used is the financial aid received by more than 50.000 underprivileged families in Serbia. Also, another 400.000 individuals are recepientsof thechild welfare.Social protection services include not only assesement and planning services, but asloservices of direct social work based on the clients needs assessment. There are consistant of daily care community services, aid at home services, etc.

Among the tangible assistance, financial support is most common, and more than 50,000 poor families in Serbia receive it. In addition, about 400,000 beneficiaries receive child benefit. Social protection services include assessment and planning services as well as direct social work arising from the beneficiaries needs’ assessment such as: daily services in the community (day care center, home help, etc.), support services for independent living (eg. supported housing, personal assistance, training for independent living, etc.), an advisory-therapeutic and socio-educational services (support for families in crisis, counseling, family therapy, mediation, SOS telephony etc.) and accommodation services.

Social work services are provided by centers for social work, residential institutions and other institutions (shelters, reception centers, etc.), with the gradual development of the private and non-profit sector, civil society organizations (CSOs). CSOs provide about the third of all social protection services at the local level, while the private sector mainly deals with institutional accomodation services for elderly people. Social protection services are financed from the national, provincial and municipal budgets, while customers sometimes pay only participation.

Many of the social work services are not developed enough within the community, do not reach out to enough clients and in some municipals they do not even exist. There is no market for local social protection services with several provider of same services in Serbia, meaning that there is usually only one organization that provides certain social service (day care center, home help, etc).

In the last 10 years a reform of the system of social protection have been conducted. This reform is meant to contribute to the overcoming of the highly passive position of the clients in the system of social protection, to help the delopment of the network of social services, to support development and wider use of social protection services and to decentralize idebureaucratise the insuficiently flexible, insuficiently economical and noteficentenough, paternalistic system of the public social protection institutions and services.

An efficient system of social protection should respond to the changes in needs of the citizents in new social-economic circumstances and to support the vulnerable and marginalized individuals and groups in need fororganized help from the community and the government as well as the citizents who are not capable to ensure their own existence through economic activities.