Global, flexible and individual support
Support-Girona was established on April 11, 2003, as the Guardianship Foundation in Girona with the primary purpose of protecting people with cognitive impairment, intellectual disabilities, and mental illnesses by providing them with guardianship support.
It was born under the auspices of the Healthcare Institute (IAS), which is a health organisation under the Government of Catalonia that manages the Mental Health and Addictions Network of Girona as part of a deinstitutionalisation project that achieved its aim of emptying the psychiatric hospital through community care.
Given the legal and organisational changes brought about in the field of guardianship, such as the publication of the Family Code of Catalonia in 1998 and the boost by the Government of the Catalonia to create a social guardianship service, IAS arrived at the conclusion that the future of guardianship has to be separated from the management of health resources.
Taking this need into account, four organisations with different trajectories but with a common goal decided to join their efforts and create the Guardianship Foundation. These four organisations are as follows:
- The Gerión Association, which is devoted to the guardianship of elderly people and is based on a volunteer structure.
- The Association of Relatives of the Mentally Ill in Girona, which is devoted to the care of the familiy members of these people.
- The Drissa Foundation, which is committed to job placement and housing for people living with mental health issues.
- The Mentally Ill Foundation of Catalonia, which is devoted to the guardianship of people with mental illness and provides its experience in this matter.
Since its creation, the organisation has also assumed the guardianship role which was formerly undertaken by the La Fageda Foundation in La Garrotxa, the Guardianship Foundation of Gironès, an entity with which it merged in 2011, and the Fadesia Foundation, an entity with which it merged in 2022 (approval by the Protectorate of Foundations of the Government of Catalonia pending).
In 2004, Support-Girona contributed to the creation of the ENCAIX Association, of which it is a member. The ENCAIX Association consists of the different foundations that care for people with mental illness in Catalonia, such as Mentally Ill Foundation of Catalonia, Germà Tomàs Canet Foundation, Nou Camí Foundation, LAR Foundation, Pere Mata Foundation, Lluís Artigas Foundation, Vella Terra Foundation, Health and Community Foundation, Intress Foundation, Vol Foundation, and Via Clara Foundation.
In 2018, Support-Girona adapted its articles according to the language and principles of the new paradigm of the United Nations, as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), thereby moving from a paternalistic and restrictive approach towards supported decision-making and training in order to promote the right of each person to be involved in the decisions that concern them.
It adapted the articles of the association with a change of name, going from Fundació Tutelar de les Comarques Gironines to Support-Girona, along with adapting goals in accordance with the 2021 legislative reform (approval by the Protectorate of Foundations of the Government of Catalonia pending).
Until the 2021 legislative reform, which was put in place at both national and Catalan levels in support of legal capacity, the organisation’s activity was based on the so-called ‘institutions for the protection of the person’, regulated in the Civil Code of Catalonia (i.e., guardianship and curatorship, legal defence, de facto guardian, etc.), where a judge resolved to commission, in the matters deemed appropriate, the legal assistance and social support of a person. Likewise, it was also involved when the individual requesting support was their own person (through the assistance mechanism established in Article 226 of the Civil Code of Catalonia) or when it was commissioned under a power of attorney for the present or the future (i.e., preventive power) as established in Article 222.2 of the Civil Code of Catalonia.
As of September 3, 2021, the organisation provides support in accordance with the measures adopted in the 2021 legislative reform at both national and Catalan levels, seeking to approach the principles of CRPD. On this date, the State Law 8/2021 entered into force, reforming the civil and procedural legislation regarding the support for the exercise of the legal capacity of persons with disabilities. Moreover, the Catalan decree Law 19/2021 also entered into force, temporarily regulating the support mechanisms for the exercise of the legal capacity of persons with disabilities and determining that the assistance service is the core mechanism of support that, in Catalonia, replaces and abolishes not only the guardianship and parental rights extended/reinstated in adults, as in the state reform, but also curatorship.
The book two of the Civil Code of Catalonia, complementary to the Decree-Law 19/2021, will be published in the near future. Currently, it is in the hands of the Codification Commission of the Department of Justice, where Support-Girona has been able to provide their real-world experience in the support of legal capacity.