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The Care Agency

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The Care Agency

Table of contents

 

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 Care Agency Act 2009, under the auspices of the Ministry for Tourism, Equality, Social Services and Housing. The Care Agency Head Office is located at 1-2 Johnstone’s Passage. The Care Agency consists of: - Children & Families Services - Adult Services -  Disability Services - Administration



Children and family services

The Child Protection 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 raised up by their families by providing a range of support services.  The Child Protection Team deals with all incoming referrals concerning children; they undertake assessments. 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 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 coordinate multidisciplinary responses to any perceived needs that child may have and a decision is made as to whether or not the child should become subject to a multi-agency Child Protection Plan.

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 Child Protection 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’. Work with the then ‘looked after child’ continues, looking at key issues that affect him/her. 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.

If you have any concerns with regard to a child’s welfare, please contact: 200 78528.

The Child Placement Service

This service seeks to provide a range of placements for children who live or are found locally and require public or alternative care.  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 coordinates Inter-country Adoptions.

Out of Hours Social Work Service

The Care Agency operates an emergency social work service outside office hours, including weekend and public holidays thus ensuring that there is a Social Worker available 24/7.

LOCAL ADOPTION AND FOSTERING

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.

The majority of children who need permanent homes are generally several years of age.  Sometimes, the impact of their early history may have affected their health, education and general development. Children usually thrive with the stability and emotional nurturing that comes with adoption. Children come from a variety of backgrounds and the Care Agency is therefore keen to have a wide range of families to draw on – from single applicants to couples and parents with children – so that a ‘match’ can be made between the specific needs of a child and the families.  Most children placed for adoption will have memories of their previous family.  Adopters need to be able to accept this and help the child understand their birth family history. Adoptions in Gibraltar are governed by the Adoption Act 1951.  The Care Agency can provide guidance to people who are considering adoption.  They can be guided through the process from the ‘enquiry’ stage through to ‘approval’ as prospective adopters and eventually, after introductions and the gradual transition of the child into the new family, through the legal process.

Further information regarding local adoptions can be obtained by making an appointment to see the Duty Social Worker.

Inter Country Adoption

The Care Agency also coordinates the local aspects of Inter-Country Adoptions.

Fostering

Sometimes families encounter difficulties that make parents unable to care for their children. When, for whatever reason, children cannot be looked after at home, the Care Agency may arrange for them to live in an approved foster home. Being a foster carer involves many tasks but primarily it is about:

- Caring for someone else’s child(ren) in your home as part of your family

- Providing a safe and stable environment for children and young people, from babies to 18 years

- Enabling the children to keep in contact with their own family

You can discuss your preferred options with the Care Agency in terms of the age range of children, their sex, numbers and length of stay and this will be considered and assessed.  A child may need foster care for:

- A short time while difficulties are sorted out

- Longer periods, perhaps until s/he reaches 18 years of age

- A planned short stay to bring a much needed break to a family

What makes a good foster carer?

People with a variety of life experiences and from all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds can become successful foster carers. To be a foster carer, you will need:

- Patience and an understanding of the needs of children in foster care

- Experience of looking after children

- Time and energy to care for children who may have complex needs

The Care Agency will provide training and support before and during your time as a foster carer and will pay a weekly allowance for the maintenance of the child. If you are interested in becoming a foster carer contact us and we will provide you with an information pack and details of the next Information Meeting.

Looked after Children

The term ‘Looked after Children’ describes children and young people who are either in Voluntary Care or subject to a Care Order issued by the Court.  They may be placed with family or friends, or placed within residential services. A team of Social Workers, Senior Care Workers, Care Workers, a Teacher, a visiting Psychologist and a visiting Drugs Counsellor, all work closely together alongside the Gibraltar Health Authority, Education Department and Royal Gibraltar Police, to ensure that the holistic needs of all ‘Looked after Children’ are optimised.

Counselling and Psychology Service

The Care Agency employs a qualified full-time Psychologist and Counsellors.  This service provides therapeutic counselling support to adults and children receiving support from the Agency.

How to access or make a Referral to Children’s 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. Members of the public can make a referral, or make an enquiry by ringing Tel: 200 78528 and asking for the Duty Social Worker, or by calling into the office in person between 9.00am to 1.00pm 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 Royal Gibraltar Police on 200 72500.  The Police will contact the Duty Social Worker who will then ring you back. 

Professional, or agencies who work with children, may use our dedicated email address (as well as phone, or visit in person) – Referral.concernsforachild@careagency.gov.gi.  Professional Agencies will need to also complete our new Referral Form; however its completion should not deter you from raising Child Protection concerns. In all cases the Duty Social Worker will be happy to discuss your referral and offer advice and support as appropriate.  A Duty Social Worker is available for this purpose between 9am and 5.15pm (Winter Hours) and 8am and 2.15pm (Summer Hours).  ** Please remember however, that an Out of Hours Social Worker is available, via Royal Gibraltar Police, outside of these hours, if you have a concern for the protection of a child or young person.

For further information contact the Care Agency on 200 78528

Adult Services

This service provides social work support to vulnerable adults, older people, adults with physical disabilities and/or learning disabilities, their families and their carers within the community. The service undertakes assessments of needs for both service users and their carers. 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 and prepares reports on social housing and provides a Psychological and Counselling Service.

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 service is staffed by a Day Centre Coordinator, two support workers and volunteers. The Coordinator is supervised by the Team Leader of the Adult Team.

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. The Centre is located directly below Dr Giraldi Home and is open Monday – Friday all year round from 0900 am to 4.20pm, except Bank Holidays.

For further information please contact the Care Agency on 200 78528

Domiciliary Care Service

The Domiciliary Care Service is set up in order 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 within their own home environment. The aim of the Domiciliary Care Service is to ensure that every recipient has an individually designed, care package which meets their individual needs and requirements. Service recipient’s comments and opinions are regularly sought, respected and 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. The Domiciliary Care Service is contracted out to a private Domiciliary Companies which are based in Gibraltar and is overseen by the Adult Services Team. The Service is operated on a 7 day per week, 52 weeks per year basis.

For further information please contact the Adult Services Team on 200-78528

Family Court Welfare Service

This team works in conjunction with the Courts through the preparation of reports and mediation in relation to matrimonial disputes where custody and access to children of separating parents are involved.

Probation Service

This now comes under the auspices of the Ministry for Education and Justice, and International Exchange of Information.

Community Service - Unpaid Work

This now comes under the auspices of the Ministry for Education and Justice, and International Exchange of Information.

 

Rehabilitation Services

This now comes under the auspices of the Ministry for Sports, Culture, Heritage and Youth.

Elderly Care Residential Services

This now comes under the auspices of the Ministry for Health, the Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

Available Services:

Physiotherapy Service

The Physiotherapy Team takes a multi-disciplinary approach to dealing with a broad range of disorders in an attempt to slow down the potential risk of deterioration as a result of the ageing process and to enhance individual quality of life. The aim of the team is to enhance the quality of residents’ lives by helping to alleviate their physical ailments, maximising their potential and helping to reduce their level of dependency on others.

Activities Department

Activities are both a vital and integral part of daily routine within Elderly Residential Services. The Activities Department Programme includes Arts and Crafts, Music, Board Games, Sewing, Bingo, Outings and Baking Sale of Goods is held twice yearly, with items produced by the residents, the proceeds of which go toward funding future projects and replenishing of stock for the Department. Outings are enjoyed by many residents, as are the bingo sessions, both of which are arranged and funded by the Friends of Mount Alvernia.

Snoezelen Room

Elderly Care Services Snoezelen Room, situated at Mount Alvernia contains a variety of therapeutic equipment aimed at stimulating the user’s primary senses and provides the opportunity for individuals to merely relax and enjoy the surroundings. The equipping of the Snoezelen Room at Mount Alvernia was made possible by the exceptional generosity of many kind donations and fund raising event proceeds, for which the Elderly Care Services and residents remain eternally grateful.

Catering

Mealtimes are considered to be the highlight of the day in Residential Services and the Catering Department takes great pride in the food they prepare and serve, with the aim of pleasing residents; all dietary needs can be catered for. Residents are asked to participate in an annual survey where they are able to put forward their ideas for new Menus. The Jewish Home is unique in that it is the only residential facility in Gibraltar which provides kosher meals, that meets the dietary laws of the Jewish Faith.

Hairdressing There is an in-house hairdressing facility at Mount Alvernia which is subsidised by the Friends of Mount Alvernia. This means that residents pay only a small charge for this service, which proves to be very popular. The purpose built hairdressing salon is located on the Ground Floor at Mount Alvernia which enables residents to enjoy the luxury of relaxing and having their hair styled in the ‘comfort of their own home’.

Health Health Professionals take part in a range of services provided and Residential Care Services seek to arrange for the appropriate professionals to meet all the health needs of the residents and these include: - Regular GP/Chiropodist visits - Access to Dental/Optical/Audiology Services - Access to the Mental Health Team - Liaison with St. Bernard’s Hospital

For further information please contact 200-76681 Ext 2522 



Disability Services

This service provides residential and day care services to adults with learning disabilities.

Residential Service

Dr Giraldi Home is a residential facility for 14 adults Staffed 24hours per day and comprises units of:

- Two individual flats accommodating one person in each flat

- One supported living flat for 2 people

- One multi occupancy flat for 6 people

- A respite care flat that can accommodate up to three people for overnight stays in addition to providing an afternoon /evening sitting service

The service provides care and support based on the O’Brien 5 accomplishments of community living and aspires to provide a person centred approach to health and social care. Each service user is encouraged to be involved in the development of their own person centred 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 activities 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.

The day to day management of this service is the responsibility of the General Manager, supported by Qualified Nurses, Unit Managers, Care Workers and Auxiliary Staff. The Nurses assist and support the Manager in the 24hour administration of the home and its activities. Each flat is supervised by a Unit Manager with responsibilities to include ensuring the individual service user’s plan of care is carried out effectively, organising activities, leisure pursuits to include holidays and planning Staff rotas ensuring appropriate staffing levels are met. The Staff work in collaboration with social workers, general practitioners, service users and their families to promote the wellbeing of individual service users.

The Qualified Nurses are responsible for organising and implementing a programme of ‘in house’ training for Staff,  to include the administration of medicines, manual handling, basic life support, conflict resolution and health and safety. The Nurse also provides Staff and service users with advice on promoting good health. Each resident is encouraged to be involved in the development of their own person centred care plan; designed to take care of their social needs, medical health, emotional and mental well-being. Regular coffee mornings are held for the families of respite care users to provide the opportunity share experiences and enabling a clear communication channel between Staff and families.

For further information contact the Care Agency on 200 78528

 Click here for information about Occupational Therapy at St Bernadette's Resource Centre

Staff Training

The Care Agency ‘Training and Development Programme’ is an ongoing programme with an established foundation of subjects. The ‘Generic Core Training’  is provided for all new Care Workers within the Care Agency on commencement of their employment. The topics covered within this have been carefully aligned with the Common Induction Standards identified by Skills for Care UK. The Care Agency is striving to ensure that its workforce has the appropriately skilled people in the right places, working to deliver high quality care. In order to do this, the Care Agency focuses on the attitudes, values and skills of its employees and provides them with the necessary training to enable them to undertake their role.

The subjects covered mirror the mandatory topics for the ‘QCF Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care’ and if covered in-depth can provide excellent evidence of the underpinning knowledge of the Level 2 Diploma which is being developed within Gibraltar. All staff vacancies within the Care Agency are advertised in the Gibraltar Employment and Training Board Offices. Care Agency Application Forms available on-line The Care Agency aims to employ caring and professional staff who have the expertise and commitment to provide skilled, sensitive and vocational care throughout the services.

Further details on vacancies available from: Human Resources Department 1-2 Johnstone’s Passage Gibraltar Tel: 00 350 20063463/63464

E-mail: infocareagency@gibraltar.gov.gi

Available Documents:

- Leaflet on employment opportunities in the Care Agency

- Application Form for Employment

- Guidance on Inter-Country Adoption

- Application Form for Adoption

- Application Form for Fostering

- Dr Giraldi Home Inquiry