4.2 Administration and governance
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The main responsibility for the provision of social welfare services lies within the Ministry for the Family, Children's Rights and Social Solidarity, which is responsible for social policy in general including family and child policy, social housing, social security, pensions and other solidarity services, as well as issues concerning disability, the elderly and community care. The establishment of Local Government in 1993 gave greater powers and autonomy to local communities, however such powers tend to be significantly limited in terms of social welfare provision which continues to be the prerogative of central government (Vella & Gauci, 2016).
The Ministry for the Family, Children's Rights and Social Solidarity is responsible for social inclusion in general and is Malta’s main social welfare service provider.
The main services offered by the foundation through Appoġġ fall under the main pillars providing for:
- family services
- children services
Appogg provides different sevices such as:
- Health services
- Children and Youth services
- Intake and family services
- Adult protection services
- Court services
- Programm Ulied Darna (PUD)
- Residential Homes
- Supportline 179
Health services focuses on provision of social work interventions in health settings such as Mater Dei, Benniena, Samoc, MCH and other health areas. The Intake and family services incorporate the intake system for dropins and a generic service which monitors and provides care plans for families in vulnerable situations. Children and youth services incorporate issues related to adoption, looked after children, child protection, adoloscent support services, youth specialised programmes and fostering. Adult Protection Services includes the provision of a highly specialised social work service at Domestic Violence, a group of professionals providing risk assessments 24/7, Managing Abusive Behaviour, a women’s shelter and dedicated service on child to parent violence. Court services work exclusively with court cases where social work assessments are held as ordered by court and supervised access visits provided.
The Community Services aim to work closely with the local community to facilitate and encourage a process of change within the community they operate in, through local participation. These services strive to enhance the local potential, offer optimal individual and family social work services that are aimed especially at the most vulnerable in the community, whilst taking into consideration the context, culture and everyday life of the residents. The first community service was opened in Cottonera and was set up in 1994. The service was known as the Community Development Unit at the time. It then moved to Access Centre in 2002. Birkirkara, Valletta and Qawra Services were set up in 2009 and the Msida in 2012 which was amalgamated with the Birkirkara Service. In 2019, two new services were set up in Zabbar and Mosta.
In 2015, the planned pilot service ‘the home-based family therapy’ (now known as Home Based Therapy Service) commenced with a number of families who were also followed by the social workers in Qawra. The service targeted families whose children were at risk of being removed from home. The service complimented the social work interventions already being carried out. This was a pilot project which developed into a new service. This service is offering therapeutic service to multi-stressed families within the community. The beneficiaries of this service are experiencing multiple problematic issues which are related to poverty. These include drug abuse, violence within the families, mental health problems and risks of potential care orders which in a number of cases could be considered as imminent.
Besides the above services, FSWS through the Sedqa agency, provides services to help people with addictive behaviour. These include prevention and early intervention, as well as care services.
Apart from the support rendered by these three agencies, the Ministry for the Family, Children's Rights and Social Solidarity, through the Sapport agency, offers services to individuals, including young people, with disability. These include:
It should be noted that given the wide range of issues which impact upon social protection and social inclusion, a large number of other Government entities contribute to the well-being of society including young persons, such as the Ministry for Health (MfH), The Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE), The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government (MJCL) and the Minister for European and Foreign Affairs
There are also a number of non-public actors that contribute to the social inclusion of young people such as:
- Rainbow Support Services provide information, consultation and psycho-social welfare services through an approach that considers an LGBTI identity as equally valid
- Inspire provide people with disabilities and their families with educational, therapeutic and leisure services. They also advocate for inclusion, educate the general public and raise awareness among peers
- Jesuit Refugee Service in Malta seeks to accompany, serve and defend the rights of asylum seekers and forcibly displaced persons who arrive in Malta
- SOS Malta advocates for the introduction and implementation of local measures aimed at the integration and social inclusion of regular migrants in Maltese society
- Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl helps prisoners and their families undergo the prison experience with more dignity and self-esteem
- Caritas Malta strives to alleviate poverty and promote human development and social justice, witnessing to the Christian faith and Gospel values
- The St Jeanne Antide Foundation offers support and self-empowerment of socially excluded persons, families and minority groups.