The Gabinete Social de Atendimento à Família - GAF (Social Family Assistance Office) is a charitable Institution created on May 24th, 1994, by the Order of Carmelite Fathers of Viana do Castelo, as part of the celebrations marking the International Year of the Family

It was created to enhance the "family" in its various aspects, while providing an integrated, comprehensive response to the most pressing problems, including those generating exclusion. It adopts a multidisciplinary, personalized and multidimensional intervention strategy, guiding its action/intervention so as to contribute toward social [re]integration and, subsequently, improving the quality of life of socially detached and/or economically disadvantaged groups, in an attempt to offset and minimize the impact of exclusion-generating factors, while promoting equal opportunities.

These social intervention concerns, which are manifest in the objective that guided the creation of GAF, have combined, from day one, with work in partnership with various organizations which, directly or indirectly, provide services of a social nature.


To develop quality social responses, with a humanistic spirit of solidarity, fostering the rights, quality of life, inclusion and citizenship of socially and/or economically vulnerable individuals and families.


To be a national benchmark as part of social intervention, by innovating in its practices and through the quality of the services provided to communities.


The various players and agents of the GAF universe have different ways of accomplishing the Institution’s Mission, as the reality they are faced with is heterogeneous and complex. There is no one single way of doing things well, and there are no recipes that equally benefit every individual we work to serve. Thus, we embrace the diversity of options and perspectives, flexibility when faced with multiple alternatives, the wealth of experimentation with new techniques, and the quest for new strategies.

However, we all agree when stating that personal and organizational activities and behaviors, no matter how heterogeneous they are, have to rely on something fundamentally common, an orientation rooted in the culture and history of the Institution we represent.

While practices and strategies may be diverse, there is only one Mission with one essential meaning. Such consistency and complementarity are possible only by observing and maintaining a shared system of Values that validates and lends meaning to our practices. The GAF, which was founded through references central to the Christian message, entails universal ethical principles it holds dear, as rendered in the following matrix of Values:

Family - We envisage it as a structuring unit of society and the most significant context for developing human beings. With such a demanding educational and training-related purpose, along with a crucial responsibility for the psychosocial balance of its members, the GAF, therefore, seeks to enhance the Family in its various aspects, while fostering the quality of the experiences and interpersonal relations lived out;

Fairness - Proceeding fairly and impartially, acting according to principles of neutrality, not undermining or benefiting anyone in terms of their origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, political, ideological or religious convictions, socioeconomic level or health status, while doing away with the effects of biases or pre-conceived notions;

Individuality - Along with non-discrimination, it is essential to respect individual characteristics and life experiences that shape each person and sets him/her apart from the rest;

Self-determination - As much as possible, respecting users’ choices and decisions is an essential factor both for their physical and emotional well-being and for their empowerment;

Autonomy - Fostering and spurring user autonomy, by encouraging, whenever possible, their independence and self-sufficiency;

Confidentiality - Preserving user integrity and privacy, as well as acting in a reserved and discrete manner with regard to personal information of a confidential nature, not disseminating or using it for personal and /or third-party gain;

Innovation - Anticipating needs and problems, as well as the emergence of new challenges and problems, calls for the constant evolution of practices. Indeed, innovation is fostered through a stimulating environment of creative impulses e and an enterprising attitude on the part of all of its members;

Quality - Nurturing discipline, efficiency and transparency in practices, so as to provide personalized, quality services geared to the customer and to society.

Policy of Social Responsibility

The organization outlines, implements and controls its commitment toward developing the community where it operates. This commitment, which covers the environmental, economic, social and cultural spheres, does not seek to achieve direct benefits.

Policy of Ethics

The organization outlines, implements and controls its commitment regarding basic moral values, geared toward preventing unnecessary risks as well as organizing practices concerning privacy, integrity, confidentiality, discipline and social justice.

Policy for Quality

The organization outlines, implements and controls its commitment toward meeting the legitimate needs and expectations of customers and of other interested parties. In order to ensure the enforcement of the policy for quality, the organization shall control process conformity. Quality management shall improve the organization’s sustainability.

Policy regarding Human Resources

The organization outlines, implements and controls its commitment toward recruiting, selecting, training and evaluating workers, so as to foster their improved qualification and performance, as well as to ensure equal opportunities in terms of training, performance, promotion and remuneration.

On the 24th of (last month), the Carmelite Fathers opened a «Gabinete de Atendimento à Família» (GAF) (Family Assistance Office) at their Convent, in Viana do Castelo.

Basically, this is an office providing human and spiritual assistance, with service geared to consulting as well as psycho-pedagogical and vocational guidance, in the form of human and spiritual aid to family problems, within the context of the International Year of the Family.

The main objectives of GAF most notably include: welcoming needy people and families requesting human and spiritual aid; providing families with training opportunities in a wide variety of topics, in order to prevent shortages and imbalances, while a team of qualified staff offers a psychological, legal, social and spiritual consulting service.

Such a team comprises Psychologists, Legal Experts, Social Workers, Physicians, Couples, and Religious Communities. For the future, the GAF also intends, among others: to devise a Group Vocational Psychological Consulting program for young people having to make choices; conduct a cycle of conferences addressing family problems; create a Parents’ Club enabling interaction and reflection; and periodically publish an information bulletin.

The “Family Assistance Office,” coordinated by the Barefoot Carmelite Fathers, is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6 p.m., providing services completely free of charge, with the assurance of the utmost confidentiality in their use.

Organizational Flowchart

Corporate Bodies

General Council

P. Joaquim da Silva Teixeira (Chairman)
P. Rui Fernandes Rodrigues (Vice-Chairman)
José Luís Carvalhido da Ponte (Voting Member)
António Prieto Bacelar Alves (Voting Member)
Ludovina Maria Viana Borges (Secretary)
P. Carlos Manuel Gonçalves (GAF Director)
Joaquim Manuel da Costa Guerreiro (Chairman of the Supervisory Board)


Carlos Manuel Gonçalves (Director)
João Manuel Branco da Rocha Ferreira (Vice-Director)
Liliana Sofia Duarte Iglésias (Treasurer))
Fernando Alves Guerreiro (Voting Member)
José Miguelote de Castro Monteiro (Secretary)

Supervisory Board

Joaquim Manuel da Costa Guerreiro (Chairman)
Regina Bezerra (1st Secretary)
Teresa Pimentel (2nd Secretary)

Advisory Board

Joaquim Luís Coimbra (Coordinator)
Ângela Felgueiras Pontes (Secretary)



General Coordination

Leandra Rodrigues


Service Heads

Cátia Cebolo (Comunidade de Inserção)
Joana Antunes (Protocolo RSI)
Sofia Filgueiras (Casa Abrigo)
Marisa Lamas (Núcleo de Atendimento a Vítimas de Violência Doméstica)
Marta Vieito (Centro de Apoio Familiar e Aconselhamento Parental)
Carina Parente (Centro de Aconselhamento Psicossocial HIV/SIDA)
Miguel Fernandes (Unidade de Apoio na Toxicodependência)
Renato Ribeiro (Serviços Socialmente Solidários)


Project Coordinators

Cláudia Marinho (Equipa de Rua Adições)
José Carlos Carvalho (CLDS 3G Viana Consigo)


Organograma Completo(PDF | 1,28 MB)