Lifting children in the most densely populated urban environment in the world

A telling statistic I discovered this week is that the most densely populated urban environment in the world is  surprisingly, Manila Philippines. While it may not be the largest or most populated in the world it is the most cramped and crowded. Abandoned Children’s Fund has been collaborating with our local Project partners in the Philippines since our inception in 2007.

One of the projects Abandoned Children’s Fund has been investing in is caring for abused and abandoned children at The Laguna Center of Hope which provides treatment and residential care primarily conducted through a total family approach wherein each child is given a father and mother (house parents) and brothers and sisters structure. The treatment each child is being handled by a multidisciplinary case management team, offering a wide range of skills, including psychological and psychiatric assessment. The center aims to help children and their families become whole again in which they have attained social functioning in an environment where they interact constructively, have developed a sense of hope and that encourages the children and their families to succeed.

Programs and Services that The Laguna Center of Hope provides include:

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Residential Care Program

Short-term residential care, treatment and placement to children in crisis who are referred by Department of Social Welfare and Development and other institutions or communities is provided.  Through this program, up to ten children live together as an active, giving family unit in cottages with a married couple that serves as house parents. Each cottage will be a comfortable family-style home with kitchen, family room, study area and bedrooms. Before the children are given their assigned cottage, they will be sent to a transition facility for adjustment, orientation, observation and assessment. Children in residential care avail of the in-house pre-school and attend public schools if old enough. In each home, daily devotions instill Christian values. Children are encouraged to participate in activities at school and also with peers.

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  1. Case Management Program

The program implements the multi-disciplinary approach to provide more comprehensive case management services to child victims of abuse, especially sexual abuse victims. The multi-disciplinary team is composed of social workers (team leader), counselors, psychologists, teachers, house parents, lawyers and medical doctors/nurses. The social worker takes responsibility for an “organized arrangement” of services to heal, rehabilitate, care for or seek change for the child victim. Each case typically involves three stages; assessment, intervention/treatment and termination. The social worker and the multi-disciplinary team conduct a weekly case conference to discuss, assess and propose individualized treatment strategies for each child. Treatment and intervention can borrow from a number of therapeutic approaches to suit the needs of the child or family. Treatment plans are comprehensive and outcome oriented and may include round-the-clock victim counseling; behavior modification; family mediation; individual, group and family therapy; peer counseling; art therapy; and life skills training.

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  1. Placement Program

 The Family Reunification Project provides comprehensive family intervention to families or immediate relatives of the children that have been placed in the Center of Hope for protective custody and healing. The purpose of the program is to reunite these children with their families or relatives who are supportive to the case of the child.

  • Foster Careprovides children with a short term or long-term home and a supportive, permanent family environment where they cannot live with their birth parents. Foster parents will be trained and licensed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the children they foster will be organized as alumni to further strengthen commitment and ensure the continuity of the program. Our Foster Care Program follows the policies and procedures set by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the social worker in charge will work closely with DSWD.
  • Surrendered, neglected and abandoned children will be submitted for permanent placement through adoption, which will be coordinated closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and matching Board for both local and inter-country adoptions. Social workers in charge will likewise work closely with DSWD following the policies and procedures on adoption.
  • The Independent Living Programprovides services to assist teens and young adults with the transition from our Residential Care Program into an independent living situation. The Independent Living Program provides the following services: housing; food; clothing; education; medical, skills training, and other social services.
  • Aftercare and Monitoring is an after care service of the Center of HOPE  in order to monitor a child’s adjustment and functioning, coping and life skills towards herself, her family, environment, community and vise versa.  It also aims to assist the client and the family on how to cope and move on with their current functioning and ensure the protection and safety of the client. The after care program shall only be for 6 months, as a minimum, and up to 12 months maximum time frame.  The Center of HOPE intends to monitor the cases however on a 5 year time frame, in order to determine if there has been a significant and long term impact towards the client and the family.

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  1. Treatment and Recovery Program

This program aims to instill a sense of wholeness in the child who experiences sexual and or physical abuse. The program will help the children deal with their trauma, guilt and anger through different modalities, like psychological testing and evaluation, psychiatric assessment and medication, clinical interview, individual/group counseling, and individual/group therapy. The objectives of this program are the following:

  • Provide Individual or Group therapy (Play therapy and Art therapy) for children in the Center based and community based projects.
  • Help children to develop positive coping skills to live with their traumas* (Creative Arts Therapy)
  • Organized trainings, workshops and seminars for primary caregivers to provide them with psychological training in dealing with children in the Center.
  • Provide family intervention in the community through therapy and various trainings and workshops to facilitate healing and empowerment.
  • Provide a venue for volunteers to facilitate therapeutic activities with children in the center.
  • Establish networks with other professionals or organization that provides psychological services to children in especially difficult circumstances.
  1. Child and Youth Development Program 

The Abandoned Children’s Fund is humbled by the generous and professional attention being devoted to these precious  children by our partners in the Laguna Center of Hope who have the opportunity to avail themselves of the in-house school program such as the pre-school and feeding; skills training; public education, depending on their age. In each home, daily devotions instill Christian values. Children are encouraged to participate in activities at school and peers. The child’s house parents and social workers provide spiritual, emotional, and academic guidance on-site.

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