Social Services Department

Overview of Department:

The Social Services Department provides a wide range of services to provide assistance to those who are vulnerable in society, or who require additional support.  The department’s service clients include:

  • The Elderly
  • The Mentally or Physically Challenged
  • Children
  • Very low income or Single Parent households
  • Probationers

Services

The services offered by the Social Services Department include Social Protection (Welfare Assistance), Medical Assistance, One-Off Grants, Rental Assistance, Children & Family Services, Adult Services and Probation Services aimed at empowering clients to realize a decent and acceptable standard of living.

In responding effectively to the needs of our clients, Social Services works very closely with other government departments, such as Health, Housing, Land Development Authority, Labour Department, Police, Pupil Support Unit, Education, and the Court. We also maintain a close working relationship with non-governmental agencies and statutory bodies such as the Montserrat Red Cross Society, Senior Citizen’s Association, Montserrat Utilities Limited, and Montserrat Social Security.

Applying for Assistance

All applicants for assistance are Means Tested, interviewed and assessed. This assessment should consider the following in order to make a fair and transparent decision:

  • Household income;
  • Mortgages, loans, etc.;
  • Essential utility costs;
  • Food costs; and
  • Household savings.

Required documents include:

  1. Passport;
  2. Birth certificate;
  3. Savings Account book/s or statements;
  4. Utility bills or receipts.

To be eligible, applicants must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Be Montserratian or have Permanent Residency status
  • Over sixty (60 ) years and unable to support themselves.
  • Disabled and unable to support themselves.
  • Caring for dependents and unable to support themselves.

Financial Assistance benefits are guided by an Annual Cost of Living Report that reviews the cost of the Nutritional and typical Shopping Baskets plus a Utilities Survey for a single-person household.

Department News

Director

Mrs. Teresena Fergus

Details of Services

Our Social Protection function is welfare assistance that provides financial safety-nets to ensure that the individuals’ needs are being met and their wellbeing maintained. The main criterion for all Welfare Assistance is that the client must be Montserratian, or have Permanent Residency status.

However, this may not necessarily be a requirement with medical life-threatening emergencies, and might also not apply in some Child Safeguarding cases. 

Medical Assistance includes financial support for:

  • Surgical care
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Dental care
  • Eye care
  • Ear care
  • Medication

Payments can be provided for Medical Expenses .  However, arrangements will have to be made for the client, or some other responsible person, to commit to repay some or all of the costs incurred by Social Services.

This repayment may be done via Health Insurance claims, Social Security benefits, salary deductions and personal payments, among others.

These are one-time payments provided to cover various essential needs, for example:

  • Food
  • School Supplies (uniforms, school shoes, text books etc.)
  • Exam Fees
  • Essential Household Equipment (for example a fridge or stove)
  • Utility Bills
  • Cooking Gas
  • Equipment for Self Employment
  • Funeral Expenses

Payments can be provided for some other ‘one-off grants’.  However, arrangements will have to be made for the client, or some other responsible person, to commit to repay some or all of the costs incurred by Social Services. This repayment may be done via Health Insurance claims, Social Security benefits, salary deductions and personal payments, among others.

Rental assistance is provided for persons renting Government-owned housing.

Partial or total subsidy may be granted based on 'Means Testing' and a mathematical formula taking into consideration the persons' disposable income and current Social Welfare benefits is used to determine the appropriate rental assistance to be offered.

We respond to the social issues of children, juveniles and families.

Our experts support vulnerable children and their families in dealing with a number of issues, to include,  child abuse, teenage pregnancy, parenting, drug abuse, domestic violence and juvenile delinquency, among others.

Services Include:

  • Individual advice and guidance for children and adults.
  • Police and court related duties.
  • Advice on Child Maintenance Services.
  • Support for Foster Care children.
  • Child Protection Issues.
  • Domestic Violence Support.

The Social Services Department also provides 'Foster Care Allowance' to Foster Parents.  This allowance is a monthly benefit provided to foster parents to assist with the living costs of children under their care. This includes both kinship and non-kinship foster placements.

Foster children are also automatically assisted with school uniforms and supplies, bus passes and school lunch, as appropriate.

Our Adult Services function is responsible for Elderly Care & Other Vulnerable Adults.

The Adult Services wants to ensure that people are able to live safely and independently for as long as possible.

This includes support through:

  • ‘Meals on Wheels’ Programme - providing a hot, cooked, nutritional meal to the elderly and disabled people in the community, every weekday.
  • Montserrat Senior Citizen Association - providing home caregiver services to the elderly and disabled to keep them in their homes and out of Residential Care for as long as possible.
  • The Look-Out Warden Supported Apartments - 50 specially designed and supervised apartments reserved for elderly people, to allow them to enjoy independent living.
  • Warden Supported Facility in Sweeney’s – a 12-unit facility, Oriole Villas, is reserved for mentally challenged persons who are capable of living independently, but who require some supervision and support.
  • Golden Years Home - a privately operated home for the elderly, run by the Golden Years Foundation. The Ministry provides a subsidy to the Home.
  • Margetson Home - a Government operated home for the elderly.
  • Montserrat Red Cross Society Support
  • Evergreen Senior Citizen Club.

Probation is an alternative sentencing designed to encourage the offender to become a more responsible person in the community, without being placed in Prison.

The Probationer is permitted to reside at home, maintain employment and carry out normal daily activities.

A sentence of a Probation can be no less than six months and no longer than three years.

Services Include:

  • Assessments and Care Plan for each Probationer.
  • Supervising the Probationer in the Community.
  • Providing Guidance and Advice.
  • Helping with Life Skills.
  • Finding a Job.
  • Referrals to other agencies of support, for example- housing.

Through the Probation Service our intention is to empower the individual to avoid re-offending.  Consequently, reducing the crime rate on Montserrat.

Our aim is to guide probationers to become productive, contributing members of society, with skills that promote integration into society.

Ultimately the service hopes to create a safer community that works in partnership to minimize the risks of offending, re-offending and victimization.

Main Contact Details

Social Services Department, Ground Floor, E. Karney Osborne Building, Little Bay.

Tel:491-3895/8142 or 495/3895

Email:
socserve@gov.ms

Departments/Unit Contact Information

Head: Amelda Nelson
Main Tel:491-3895/8142

 

Head: Beverley Reid
Main Tel:491-3895/8142 or 495/3895

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