Press Release by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights: Investment of more than €24 million for FSWS during the year 2020
Reference Number: PR211747
The Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) benefitted from the largest investment till now, when in the year 2020 an expenditure of up to and above €24 million was incurred. This overall cost includes new infrastructural investment, the management of existing services, advertising campaigns and the payments of working professionals’ wages, amongst others.
The services provided are aimed towards assisting persons who are fighting against problems of addictions, and of domestic violence, together with the management of appropriate shelters for those who truly become in need of assistance. FSWS benefitted from an increase in it’s allocated budget, an increase in employees, as well as an increase in the people who utilised it’s services within the year 2020, in spite of the fact that this was a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This may be observed from FSWS’ Annual Report for the year 2020, where this report was launched on behalf of the Foundation itself, together with the Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights. Michael Falzon, during a news conference. The report shows how FSWS’ budget increased from €19 million for the year 2019 to €24 million for the year 2020 – with an increase of more than €3.5 million.
Apart from this direct method of investment, there are a number of other NGOs who benefit from government funding, which reaches upwards of €18 million per year. This source of monetary funding further helps in strengthening their work throughout the community.
These details were announced during a news conference, in which details were provided on the Annual Report for the year 2020. This was a year which saw no shortage of challenges related to the pandemic, together with specific situations, the likes of which we had never seen before. FSWS was one of the front-runners in ensuring that nobody was left behind, whilst offering innovative, as well as other already existing, forms of services, which continue to provide support to the entire community.
Minister Michael Falzon commended the resilience of Maltese society, where it remained steadfast on a level of strength, both socially and financially. ‘We must acknowledge that the pandemic will leave it’s effects throughout the upcoming months and the years ahead. It is clearly visible that mental health problems have further continued to grow, as a cause of solitude and lack of communication’, claimed the Minister.
He also said that the Ministry had not just provided in a financial manner for those individuals who had their job affected negatively, but continued onwards even further from this. Through FSWS, help was given to persons who were experiencing solitude, which rose to it’s highest levels yet during the year 2020. Thanks to the helpline 1772, which is still in operation to this very day, we have received over 8,000 telephone and/or mobile calls during this year.
He further stated that the European Union gave out an important certificate this week, when it classified Malta in third place, as related to which people hold the most optimistic point of view, specifically when aimed towards the social sector.
During the same new conference, details were given on new investments, such as new buildings (similar to those in Santa Venera), which are to collectively encompass all services linked to the Directorate for Alternative Child Care. A modern building, and structured in such a manner that it can cater for the needs of children, as well as for those of their own family members. Up till now, these families had to keep regularly moving from one place to another, but as a result of this endeavour everything is going to be gathered under one roof. FSWS is also serving as a catalyst, in regards to the management of the Child Protection Law.
Minister Michael Falzon claimed that now that this law had come into being, a strong Foundation is necessary, with professionals who are well versed on the subject and the sector itself, and thus there being a need for continuous training, as on both a local as well as an international level, so that we can closely monitor the best individuals within this particular area.
FSWS Chief Executive, Alfred Grixti, stated that in this same manner, human resources had increased from 845 in the year 2019 to 917 in the year 2020 – an increase of 72 employees. It is worth mentioning that 78% of these employees are professionals, who carry-out their work in direct conjunction with clients of the Foundation.
These very same users of the service being offered, have increased from 18,158 in the year 2019, to 19,082 in the year 2020 – an increase of 924 clients.
Apart from these, new services were launched such as the helpline via 1772, and the opening of the Family Resources Centre in Victoria, Gozo amongst others. Apart from these essential services, other services were continued to be made available:
- Child Protection
- Alternative Care (children’s homes in the community)
- Domestic Violence Unit and Domestic Violence Shelter
- Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Service