The Care Agency is a statutory body created under the Laws of Gibraltar, to provide Social Services for the community. It operates within the provisions of the Care Agency Act 2009, under the auspices of the Ministry for Tourism, Equality, Social Services and Housing.
The Care Agency consists of:
- Children & Families Services
The Children’s team works to promote the welfare of children in the community. It works specifically to support, safeguard and protect those children who are considered to be ‘in need’. The Social Work team deals with all incoming referrals concerning children; they undertake assessments and provide support and advice for children and families.
Children and families that need help may be offered advice, counselling, and guidance on parenting, amongst other services.
Where the Care Agency has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm, it has a duty to make enquiries. The purpose of such an enquiry is to decide what action, if any, is necessary to safeguard the child’s welfare. Where children are assessed as being at risk of significant harm, Child Protection Procedures apply to safeguard the child at risk.
Most children with a Child Protection Plan remain at home with monitoring and support. However, in some cases after conducting in-depth assessments it may be considered unsafe for the child to remain at home. The team will then accommodate the child and bring his/her circumstances to the attention of the Court in a process that is known as Care Proceedings.
Children’s Adoption and Fostering Service.
The Adoption and Fostering Social Workers recruit local foster and adoptive carers to offer homes to children who cannot safely remain at home with their parents or family.
Adoption is the legal process by which children, who cannot be brought up by their own parents, become full and permanent members of a new family. Legal parental responsibility is transferred to the new family by the granting of an Adoption Order by the Courts.
Foster carers support children when children cannot be looked after at home, the Care Agency may arrange for them to live in an approved foster home.
Children’s Residential Service
The team provides Residential Care options for children and young people up to the age of 18 years. Our care homes provide safe, comfortable, and supportive accommodation for young people who have experienced trauma and/or neglect. Many of the young people in residential care have a range of complex needs and have experienced trauma or neglect. Each young person is unique; therefore, we offer a tailored approach that responds to the needs and circumstances of the young people and their families. Young people are supported by our full range of integrated services to ensure the best outcomes for each of them.
- Adult Services
This service provides support to vulnerable adults, older people, adults with physical disabilities, their families and their carers in the community. The service undertakes assessments of needs for service users to establish what support may be required.
The service offers advice and provides ongoing social work support for those in need. It also works in partnership with HM Government of Gibraltar Departments and other agencies, who may request for reports to be prepared for social housing. Social Workers may also refer to the Therapeutic Team for Psychological and Counselling services for those who are receiving ongoing support from Adult Services.
Day Centre Service for the Elderly
The Care Agency operates a Day Centre, providing social contact for the older persons helping to keep service users integrated in the community, (advising them of their rights and assisting them with problem solving). The centre offers transport to service users to and from the Centre.
The Domiciliary Care Service is set up to provide care in the community in a defined, planned, and effective way which enables the recipients to continue to live in their own homes, enabling people to remain living as independently as possible.
The aim of the Domiciliary Care Service is to ensure that every recipient has an individually designed care package which meets their needs and requirements. Service recipients’ comments and opinions are regularly sought, respected, and are central to the ongoing development of the Service.
Domiciliary Care recipients care packages are monitored and reviewed on an on-going basis, ensuring that any changing needs are responded to.
- Disability Services
Dr Giraldi Home is a residential facility for adults. The service provides care and support via a person-centred approach. Each service user is encouraged to be involved in the development of their own care plan, designed to take care of their social needs, medical health, emotional and mental well-being. Dr Giraldi Home promotes choice, independence, and social awareness skills, with an extensive activity programme to support service users to develop daily living skills to include budgets, menu planning, shopping, cooking, and laundry skills. Staff also work with service users to encourage them to utilise local education and employment opportunities.
Day Centre Service for Adults with Learning Disabilities
St Bernadette’s Resource Centre is a day centre for adults with learning disabilities. Activities are organised to promote integration and personal development and to provide stimulation.
- Drug and Rehabilitation Services
The Drug Rehabilitation Team aims to provide a comprehensive service to assist those suffering from the consequences of addiction. They provide a residential service, ongoing support for those completing treatment and their families and community-based treatment for those who are unable for any reason to commit to a residential programme.
- Therapeutic Services
The service offers Care Agency clients a range of specific therapeutic expertise and support. The team work with every specialist team at the Care Agency. The team offer one to one systemic therapeutic support to children and adults who are open to the Care Agency. They facilitate group therapeutic sessions on parenting and domestic abuse.
The Care Agency’s overarching mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. The service is instrumental in empowering people to overcome their struggles related to poverty, substance use, inequitable access to care and similar issues. Social workers in children’s Services, on the other hand, often divide their time between making home visits, coordinating services for children in foster care, supervising visits between children and their families, and attending court hearings.
For most of our workers in each department, no day is like the next. Workers deliver therapeutic techniques, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy, or mindfulness-based stress reduction, depending on the situation. Issues they address such as substance use, marital problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder vary as well.
Our workers play a central role in promoting social justice; reducing discrimination and root causes of inequality; challenging harmful behaviours and social norms; and preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Social workers transform lives and reshape communities. Their intervention has a ripple effect on society as a whole, inspiring people to join in making the world a better place. The many benefits of being a social worker, ranging from diverse potential career paths to a healthy job outlook, make this field attractive, but its power to inspire change makes it meaningful and satisfying.