RMHC Malta

RMHC Conference 2023

Family And Person-Centred Services For Children And Young People With Disability

More than 120 people came together to discuss ‘Family and Person-Centred Services for Children and Young People with Disability’ at the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ second annual conference in Malta on April 28 at the Xara Lodge.


The event, held in collaboration with the University of Malta’s Department of Disability Studies and Aġenzija Sapport, focused on the needs of children and young people living with a disability and of their families, and the physical, educational, and psychological support they require.


Opening speeches were delivered by RMHC Malta Chairman Martin Xuereb, who spoke about RMHC’s commitment to promoting family-centred care, and Dr Maria Victoria Gauci, Head of the Department of Disability Studies at the University of Malta, who praised the charity for providing an inclusive and safe space for all participants. Elvira Psaila, Day Service Manager at Aġenzija Sapport, was keynote speaker. She spoke about keeping the child and the family at the center of service provision.


The conference featured a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of implementing inclusive services, with Georgette Bajada (Head of Department in Inclusive Education at the Secretariat for Catholic Education in Malta), Nathalie Buhagiar (lecturer at the Faculty of Health Sciences within the University of Malta), Valentina Caruana (Leader Children’s Social Work Services at Aġenzija Sapport), and Tonio Axisa (Executive Director, RMHC Malta) sharing their insights and expertise.


Additionally, a discussion on the lived experience of the holistic family-centred approach provided perspectives from parents and siblings, highlighting the importance of raising awareness and tailoring services to the needs of children with disabilities. The conference served as a platform for professionals, stakeholders and NGOs to collaborate and put the findings into practice in their work.


Oliver Scicluna, Chief Executive Officer of Aġenzija Sapport, in his closing speech, commended the long-standing partnership with RMHC and emphasized the collaborative efforts to create a better environment for children with disabilities.

Keynote Speaker

Elvira Psaila graduated as a Physiotherapist in 2008 and has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings within the Public Health Service. From 2011 to 2020, she practiced as a Physiotherapist at the Child Development and Assessment Unit (C.D.A.U.). In 2020, Elvira moved to Aġenzija Sapport, where she began working as a Physiotherapist. Her dedication and hard work quickly led her to take on the role of Services Manager at Aġenzija Sapport, where she is responsible for running the Day Services. In 2015, Elvira completed a Master of Arts in Disability Studies, focusing on the experience of disability as lived by a young, physically-impaired child. She has also published work in international, peer-reviewed journals within the disability studies arena. Elvira is currently pursuing a Ph.D. and focusing her research on the role of active agency and voice in the lives of disabled children.