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平成26年 (2014年) 9月 16日

国際課

ACCESS  Apr-May 2007

A Bimonthly Newsletter for International Residents of Yamaguchi Prefecture


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Welfare Services


Aiming to create a pleasant and supportive living environment for its residents, Yamaguchi offers welfare services centered upon four major policies:


I. Child-rearing and Combating the Declining Birthrate

II. Health and Safety Provisions

III. Active Lifetime Community-Building

IV. Policies for Autonomy and Mutual Support


Each policy consists of several subdivisions each with a variety of services and projects established to provide for the wellbeing of all residents. Following is a brief guideline.




I.CHILD REARING AND COMBATING THE DECLINING BIRTHRATE

All over Japan, including in Yamaguchi, the population is shrinking. Much of this is due to a declining birthrate. In an effort to revitalize the population, Yamaguchi offers welfare services to support families raising children by providing aid for health and medical costs and assuring a safe environment for children.

A. Local child-rearing support

1. Special preference for households with children

• Courtesy services for pregnant women and households with children under 18 such as discounts on goods and admissions, complimentary beverages or toys, etc. (determined individually by participating vendors)

2. Local support for children

• Special support activities, incorporating regional culture and traditions, in collaboration with local residents (NPO members, child-rearing clubs, father clubs, local enterprises, etc.)

• Child-rearing forums with panel discussions on raising children and dealing with the declining birthrate

3. Engaging residents in child-rearing support activities

• Working towards creating a “child-rearing culture” within communities to provide support for children and families

• Prefectural events and activities (conferences on child support activities in Yamaguchi, training and support for local coordinators, prizes awarded for outstanding child-rearing, Genki Kids and Family Fest event, etc.)

4. Local support for child-rearing

• Establishing local support centers to relieve families of the burdens and anxieties associated with child-rearing (Yamaguchi ranks 4th in the nation for the number of child-rearing support centers)

• Supporting pioneering methods to attend to diverse needs of local children (nutritional education, aid for children with developmental disabilities, distributing information on child-rearing throughout the region, etc.)

• Training staff at child support centers to improve skills

5. Increasing support for preschools and nurseries

• Services held to publicize the special functions of nurseries and preschools (open-house visits for prospective children and their parents, cross-generational events, at-home consultations and lectures for busy parents, open-house events, etc.)

• Training seminars to improve the level of child-rearing support


B. Economic support for working parents

1. Improving the function of preschools and nurseries

• Accepting all children (Yamaguchi’s acceptance rate 3rd in the nation)

• Day care available during holidays

• Flexible part-time (2~3 times a week) and half-day (morning or afternoon) services available

• Children with mild disabilities accepted for group day care

2. Enrichment of after-school programs for students

• Expanding after-school children’s clubs (Yamaguchi 6th in the nation)

• Repairing and equipping existing facilities and available classrooms for club use

• Recruiting volunteer instructors, such as senior citizens

• Providing necessary equipment for children with disabilities

3. Economic provisions for babies’ medical fees (ranks top in the nation)

• Subsidized medical insurance (hospital meals excluded)

• Covers medical expenses for children until they enter primary school

4. Reduced day care costs for households with multiple children (top in the nation)

• Day care fees reduced for children under age 3 in households with three or more children (reduced fees not applicable for eldest two)

• Preschool and day nursery fees reduced by 50% to 100% for children under age 3, starting with the third child

• \50,000 provided annually for private day care services for each child under age 3, starting with the third child

5. Child aid subsidies

• Applicable for children from age 0 up until completion of primary school, in households making under \8,600,000 (standard 4-member white collar household)

• \10,000 (changed from \5,000) per month for all children under age 3


C. Maternal and child health and medical care

1. Administering a perinatal care system

• Setting up the General Perinatal Care Center as a base for providing support to the increasing numbers of high-risk mothers and newborns (premature delivery, toxemia of pregnancy, low birth weight infants, etc.), offering services for the mother from pregnancy to birth as well as for the newborn child (22 weeks of pregnancy and one week following birth)

• Establishing a health consultation window for mothers and newborns to provide guidance for high-risk mothers and newborns leaving the hospital (such as an at-home support plan), health instruction for outpatients (such as low birth weight infants who need follow-up visits), and private consultations (on pregnancy and obstetric medical equipment, etc.)

2. Treatment and support for sterility

• Providing aid for treatment: \30,000 per year for 2 years for couples undergoing treatment covered by health insurance; \100,000 per year for 5 years for treatment not covered by insurance; applicable for couples with a total income of under \7,300,000 (previously \6,500,000)

• Holding symposiums to raise awareness and understanding about sterility

• Establishing sterility consultation centers at the Prefectural General Medical Care Center and the Health and Welfare Center

3. Healthy families project

• “Healthy Families Yamaguchi 21” plan revised to raise standards of maternal and pediatric health within the next 3 years, including a mid-term progress evaluation

4. Provisions for pediatric care

• Establishing nighttime telephone hotlines and training courses for guardians and parents, maintaining weekend and nighttime emergency care services for children

• Hotline for child-related medical emergencies (19:00~22:00 daily), emergency pediatric medical training for local doctors (basic pediatric training for doctors who did not specialize in pediatrics), raising awareness on child-related medical emergencies (training courses for guardians and parents about children’s illnesses)

• Emergency medical care services for children (securing weekend and nighttime emergency services), managing a base hospital for pediatric medical emergencies


D. Child safety

1. Child abuse prevention

• Stopping abuse before it starts: observation teams dispatched to watch over high-risk households; prefecture-wide parental support programs

• Early recognition, early action: improving consultation facilities for children (central consultation office open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, cooperation with medical institutions) and support for municipal systems (professional training for municipal welfare workers)

• Aftercare: securing a guarantor, assigning foster parents, helping establish social independence through assisted independence homes

2. Creating wholesome environments for children

• Minimizing harmful environments (establishing a consortium to work on reducing harmful environments, with conferences and Clean-Up Forums managed by education groups, youth groups, PTA, media groups and professionals)

• Prefecture-wide clean-up operations, with participations from juvenile committees, PTA and the police



II. HEALTH AND SAFETY PROVISIONS

To ensure the health of its residents, Yamaguchi’s welfare services aim to maintain well-staffed high-quality medical institutions, with a focus on battling cancer.

A. Providing secure, high-quality medical care

1. Provisions for securing doctors

• School funds for medical students with future plans to work in medical institutions in Yamaguchi prefecture (\150,000 per month provided each to 5 students enrolled in Yamaguchi University and 5 enrolled at any university in the nation)

• Securing positions for female doctors and holding workshops and symposiums to prevent the loss of work for female doctors

• Setting up a Doctor Bank (collective resource network for information on job openings in public medical institutions)

• Providing training and support for home doctors looking for reemployment

• Efforts to secure future local doctors (medical school seminars for high school students, publications for young doctors and students in and around Yamaguchi)

2. Provisions for pediatric care (see I.C.4)

• Establishing nighttime hotlines and training courses for guardians and parents, as well as emergency facilities to function on nights and weekends

3. General support for securing nurses and care workers

• Expanding work opportunities by offering free job introductions and training programs for nurses and care workers looking for employment

• Reemployment support for latent workers or those approaching retirement age

4. Medical care planning initiative

• Reviewing health and medical care plans to respond to local conditions

5. Medical information networking system

• Medical care cooperative information system

• Medical care information system for remote areas

• Regional rehabilitation information system

6. Disaster-related emergency medical information system

• Planning a disaster-related emergency medical care system

• Providing information to residents via the internet in cases of natural disasters regarding which medical facilities are operating, as well as details about operating facilities so that residents can make informed decisions (name, establishment, location, phone number, available medical divisions, times of operation, types and number of available beds, etc.)

7. Maintenance of Kokoro Medical Center

• Maintenance of the local medical care system, including outpatient treatment, visitation nursing, day and night care, etc.


B. Cancer treatment and prevention

1. Cancer treatment and prevention

• Raising the standards of cancer treatment, with a focus on regional base hospitals, with in-patient registration, consultation windows for patients and their families, training for staff, creation of a cancer surveillance system, equipment maintenance, and improvements in home care services

• Cancer prevention and early detection (increasing smoking bans and restrictions, taking preventative measures against female cancers by raising awareness on breast and uterine cancer with symposiums and training, taking measures against hepatitis and liver cancer, etc.)

2. Cancer treatment and prevention planning initiative

• Creating a unified and structured prefecture-wide plan to tackle cancer


C. Response to urgent health-related issues

1. Preventative measures against infectious diseases

• Acquiring antiviral medications such as Tamiflu for safeguarding against an outbreak of Avian influenza

• Preventing the spread of infectious diseases within medical institutions

2. Suicide prevention

• Organizing conferences to discuss policies and prevention tactics

• Spreading public awareness through symposiums, training seminars and support for private sector groups engaged in suicide prevention



III. ACTIVE LIFETIME COMMUNITY-BUILDING

These services aim to create local communities in which the elderly, the baby-boomers approaching old age, and ultimately all residents of the prefecture can lead long, healthy lives doing the things they love and feeling comfortable in their community.

A. Creating healthy lifestyles

1. Improving lifestyles for a healthier Yamaguchi

• Establishing regional healthy lifestyle networks to deal with local issues

• Training nutrition counsellors

• Implementing activities to promote better eating habits (cutting down the number of people living alone who regularly skip breakfast, etc.)

2. Creating health-conscious communities

• Working with businesses, institutions, and shops

• Holding interactive healthy-living events open to all residents

3. Promoting exercise for a healthy Yamaguchi

• Preventative measures against life-style related diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, through efforts for increased exercise

• Reforming the “Healthy Yamaguchi 21” plan

4. Cancer treatment and prevention (see II.B.1)

• Cancer prevention and early detection (increasing smoking bans and restrictions, taking preventative measures against female cancers by raising awareness on breast and uterine cancer with symposiums and training, taking measures against hepatitis and liver cancer, etc.)


B. Local nursing care services

1. Structural overhaul of the nursing insurance system

• Designing local care maintenance

2. Improving nursing services

• Promoting inter-occupational cooperation (between head doctors, nursing support specialists, etc.)

• Spreading information on nursing services via online publications (homecare, home bathing, home nursing, specialized facilities (nursing homes), at-home or institutional rehabilitation services, etc.)

3. Advocating equal rights for the elderly

• Preventing abuse on a local level (forming rights advocacy teams with lawyers and welfare officers and organizing specialized training)

• Eliminating physical constraints and restrictions on a local level (organizing specialized training for leaders)

• Creating a rights advocacy network

• Training sessions on rights advocacy and eliminating physical restrictions

4. Maintaining an early support system for elders with dementia living at home

• Spreading public awareness about dementia, correcting misconceptions

• Professional training for nurses and medical staff about early recognition, care and rehabilition for dementia

• Preventing dementia and creating early support systems

• Creating models for cooperation with and use of social resources


C. Promoting community involvement among senior citizens

1. Active lifetime community-building

• Senior citizens:

•Providing support at a local level and creating communities for senior citizens to participate in, such as senior activity groups

•Seminars on elderly-inclusive community-building with participants from local groups, researchers, government workers, etc., at the Yamaguchi Prefectural University Regional Collective Living Center Aging Division

•Yamaguchi Regional Senior Citizens Master College to offer a range of courses in group work activities and practical training for senior citizens looking to actively promote elderly-inclusive community-building

• Baby-boomers:

• Active Lifetime support programs for baby-boomers to get middle- aged citizens more engaged in society

• Cooperation from industrial and academic public institutions in creating an Active Lifetime society by raising public awareness, for example by holding the Active Lifetime Community-Building Fair with seminars and group activities for baby-boomers and middle-aged workers

• “Discover your new Yamaguchi life!” provides online information for baby-boomers originally from Yamaguchi who are returning home after working outside the prefecture (homepage http://www.ymg-uji.jp/)



IV. POLICIES FOR AUTONOMY AND MUTUAL SUPPORT

These services are organized to promote self-reliance among people with disabilities and to provide necessary services in locations easily accessible to those who are most in need, as well as support from the community so that all residents can lead a comfortable and self-reliant life.

A. Enabling people with disabilities to support themselves

1. Work encouragement support

• Improving working conditions and raising wages

2. Work and daily lifestyle support for people with disabilities

• Drafting plans to raise wages, dispatching administrative consultants and holding administrative seminars

• Maintenance of job training facilities for people with disabilities

• Establishing more care homes and repairing existing facilities

• Creating a guidebook on transitioning to local lifestyles

3. Special reserve funds to help people with disabilities support themselves

• Funds provided by both the nation and the prefecture

4. Special provisions to help people with disabilities support themselves

• Measures to alleviate drastic changes in businesses

• Provisional emergency measures for the transition to self-support legislation (temporary measures for the period until the transition to legislation regarding autonomy has been completed, and support for the transition to such legislation)

• Benefits provided to alleviate the burden of drastic changes

5. Local daily lifestyle support

• Consultations for people with disabilities, information distribution, and assistance for rights advocacy

• Communication support, such as sign language interpreters

• Providing loans and necessities for daily living

• Caretakers to assist with outings and activities outside of the home essential to social living

• Local activity support centers to supply creative and productive activities as well as social exchange

• Other services, such as welfare homes, home bathing services, lifestyle support programs, community involvement programs, etc.)

6. Preparations for the national sports tournament for people with disabilities

• Organizing a committee to be in charge of preparations

• Training instructors and volunteers

• Creating sports clubs and teams to strengthen athletic abilities

• Repairing lodging facilities and installing barrier free access


B. Local welfare made accessible to those who need it

1. Welfare guardian support program (leading the nation)

• Helping legal guardians by improving facilities at guardian support centers and providing training for prospective guardians as well as those involved in supporting the guardian system

2. Third-party evaluations of welfare services

• Creating a third-party committee to run the evaluation program and implementing training for those conducting evaluations

3. Constructing a platform for welfare movements

• Creating a platform for local residents and various organizations and groups to collaborate in subjectively responding to local issues

4. General rotational welfare services

• Using existing resources and gathering support from local volunteers to further mutual support in the region so that the elderly and others can use various welfare services while being in close touch with the community

5. Universal design for accessibility

• Researching barrier free and universal designs for existing facilities in preparation for the national sports tournament for people with disabilities

• Conferences and information distribution to promote welfare-based community-building





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