What is the Care Agency, and what does it do?
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 Social Services Agency Act 2002, under the auspices of the Ministry for Equality and Social Services.
The Agency provides the following services:
Adult Social Work
This service provides social work support to vulnerable adults, older people, adults with learning disabilities, their families and their carers within the community. The service provides assessments of needs for both service users and their carers, it offers support and advice, and provides other social work support for those in need. It also works in partnership with other agencies and prepares reports on social housing.
Day Centre Service for the Elderly
Four day centres are operated in four different locations throughout Gibraltar. Approximately 100 people use the service. The centres provide social contact for the older persons, and it helps to keep these service users integrated in the community, advising them of their rights and assisting them with problem solving. The centres use their own bus to transport service users to and from the locations to encourage greater attendance. The service is staffed by a Day Centre Co-ordinator and by volunteers. The Co-ordinator is supervised by a social worker from the adult team.
Day Centre Service for adults with learning disabilities
St Bernadette’s Occupational Therapy Centre is a day centre for adults with learning disabilities. Activities are organised to promote integration and personal development, and to provide stimulation. The Centre is located directly below the Dr Giraldi Home and is open Monday – Friday during school term times from 09.00 am to 4.20 pm.
Family Court Welfare Service
This team assist the courts through the preparation of reports and mediation in relation to matrimonial disputes where parental control and residence and contact to children of separating parents are involved.
Provides a service to the Courts by preparing pre-sentence reports, supervising offenders on parole or on probation in the community and working within HM Prison.
The Probation Service is the ministerial responsibility of the Minister for Justice, and currently runs in conjunction with the Care Agency.
The Community Service Order Scheme provides work placements and supervision to offenders subject to Community Service Orders imposed by the courts. It is run by a Community Service Officer.
The Community Service is the ministerial responsibility of the Minister for Justice, and currently runs in conjunction with the Care Agency.
The Child in Need Team
The Care Agency works to promote the welfare of children generally and in particular those considered being ‘in need’. As far as possible, it enables children to be brought up by their families by providing a range of support services. The Child in Need team deals with all incoming referrals concerning children; they carry out initial assessments in order to gauge the child’s situation. Children and families that need help may be offered advice, counselling, and guidance on parenting amongst other services. The Child in Need Team can also seek the assistance of other departments and agencies. Sometimes, protection plans may be made in order to safeguard a child’s wellbeing. The Child in Need Team strives to undertake these in partnership with parents or carers, and generally involve other professionals.
Where the Care Agency has reasonable cause to suspect that a child in its jurisdiction 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. An initial assessment and/or core assessment will be conducted, which involves inter agency enquiries regarding the child’s education, health, general welfare and any particular matter which may have acted as a catalyst for the child coming to the attention of the Care Agency in the first place. If necessary, a child protection conference can be convened to co-ordinate multidisciplinary responses to any perceived needs the child may have. At this point, the decision is made as to whether or not the child’s name should be included on the child protection register and what action if any is necessary.
Most children on the child protection register 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 Social Services will then accommodate the child and bring his circumstances to the attention of the court in a process that is known as ‘Care’ proceedings. Work with the ‘looked after child’ continues, looking at key issues that affect him. Work with the family also continues, in an attempt to improve conditions for the child’s safe return home.
In some cases, where the necessary changes do not occur, longer-term plans will be made for the child. In most cases, the Care Agency will encourage contact between looked after children and their families if this is consistent with their welfare.
The Child Placement Team
This service seeks to provide a range of placements for children who live or are found locally and require to be accommodated. The team is involved in recruiting, training and assessing prospective adopters and foster carers and in providing them with ongoing support and guidance. The team also carries out the functions of a local “Adoption Agency” and co-ordinates Inter-country Adoptions.
Dr Giraldi Service
Dr Giraldi is an established residential care home service providing services to adults with a learning disability. There are various flats for permanent residents as well as a respite flat. This service also oversees a community flat. All have 24 hour support.
Looked after Children
There are eight flats in the community which house looked after children. Each flat has a unit manager who has supervisory duties for a team of social care workers.
THE COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE
The Agency employs a qualified full-time psychologist and a counsellor. This service provides therapeutic counselling support to adults and children receiving a service from the Agency.
DUTY SOCIAL WORKERS (Out of Hours)
The Agency operates an emergency social work provision outside office hours, including weekend and public holidays thus ensuring that there is a social worker available 24/7. Referrals are made through the RGP.
HOW TO ACCESS OUR SERVICES
Enquiries and referrals are taken from a range of agencies involved with children and families, and from members of the public who have concerns regarding the physical, emotional and developmental needs of a child or children. Enquiries and referrals are similarly taken in respect of vulnerable adults.
An enquiry or referral can be made by ringing Tel 20078528 and asking for the Duty Social Worker, or by calling into the office in person between 9.00 am to 1.00 pm Monday to Friday, and making arrangements to see the Duty Social Worker. (The Duty Social Worker would usually be seen by appointment.)
If a service is required outside of these times, we provide an ‘emergency only’ duty system that can be contacted via the Police on 20072500. The Police will contact the Duty Social Worker who will then ring you back.
9.00 am to 1.00 pm from Monday to Friday:
16 Governor’s Parade