Today, 16th March, is World Social Work Day, which aims 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 our community.

Social work in Gibraltar is delivered through the Care Agency and is made of the departments that work with children, adults, disability services and therapeutic services and of course its administrative support team.

Adult Services offers a range of services to individuals over the age of 18 who are in need of support and assists 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.

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 our most vulnerable children in need of a home. Their Residential Service offer 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/employment and attend St Bernadette’s centre on weekdays. Feedback on how the Disability Services adapted has received an overwhelmingly positive response and 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 Therapeutic Team work in-house to offer users of the Care Agency, Care Agency Colleagues and other stakeholder departments a range of specific, therapeutic, professional expert consultation and support. The focus and speciality of The Care Agency’s Therapeutic Team lies in the delivery of specialised therapeutic support within all areas of abuse and trauma-based work. The Team conducts and provides clinical analysis assessments and are at the frontline in all aspects of safeguarding, and the public protection of children, families and vulnerable adults.

CEO of the Care Agency, Carlos Banderas, said: "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. 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."

Minister with Responsibility for Social Services, Samantha Sacramento MP said "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. 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 recognised in the recently announced Mayor’s award. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them sincerely for their professionalism and dedication.