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Praise for social workers on World Social Work Day

The work of Gibraltar’s social workers during the Covid-19 pandemic was highlighted this week to coincide with World Social Work Day today.

The annual event seeks to recognise and celebrate the hard work and dedication of social workers and those who work in social care, and the role they play in the community.

The work of the Care Agency is wide-ranging, covering everything from services for both vulnerable adults and children, through to the disabilities’ and therapeutic services and support to foster carers and adopters.

The importance of that work has come to the fore during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“While social workers aren’t wearing high-visibility jackets, they have equally led in the emergency response in the same way as those who do,” said Carlos Banderas, the chief executive of the Care Agency.

“Having the humility to work quietly in the background has been important to our social workers.”

“They see their role as being to ensure the people they support have enough of the things that are important to them to maintain their dignity and safety.”

“World Social Work Day is an important opportunity to recognise and thank them for all they do behind the scenes on a daily basis, and for the largely unseen but crucial role they have had in Gibraltar’s Covid-19 response.”

The agency’s Adult Services offer a range of services to individuals over the age of 18 who are in need of support and assist them to live as independently as possible within the community.

They cater for a population of approximately 20,000 people.

“Adult Services have worked tirelessly in response to Covid-19, offering extra support to service users who have helped safeguard welfare and avoid hospital admissions,” No.6 Convent Place said.

Children’s Social Workers are passionate about their commitment to child protection and safeguarding and the satisfaction found in working with families to help them make positive changes to their lives.

They are a comprehensive and busy team who provide long-term assistance to families who require extra support, and work closely with foster carers and adopters in the community to care for some of Gibraltar’s most vulnerable children in need of a home.

The team’s Residential Service offers 24/7 care to children and young people.

The Disabilities Services are comprised of the St Bernadette’s Resource Centre and Dr Giraldi Home.

Over the last year, the staff at this service have managed the challenges associated with Covid-19.

The lack of social contact and loss of freedom has been especially hard on people with learning disabilities who are usually helped to access community resources and employment and attend St Bernadette’s centre on weekdays.

“Feedback on how the Care Agency disability services adapted has received an overwhelmingly positive response the teams will continue to provide continued support especially now in relation to the aftermath of how Covid-19 has affected people's health,” the government said.

The Therapeutic Team works in house to offer users of the Care Agency, Care Agency staff and other stakeholder departments a range of specific, therapeutic professional expertise and support, particularly in areas of abuse and trauma-based work.

The team provides clinical analysis assessments and is at the front line in all aspects of safeguarding and the public protection of children, families and vulnerable adults.

“The work of social workers is not often recognised and as such its value is not fully understood, but they of course play a very significant role in our society always, and more so during this very difficult past year,” said Samantha Sacramento, the Minister with Responsibility for Social Services.

“So much so that this year has been declared the Year of the Health and Care Workers by the World Health Organisation.”

“All the social work teams that make up the Care Agency have worked exceptionally throughout the past year to provide indispensable services to those who need it the most and I am very glad that this has been recognised in our community as their work has very much come to the fore in supporting vulnerable groups this past year.”

“This was also recently recognised in the recently announced Mayor’s award. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them sincerely for their professionalism and dedication.”

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