The Infant Care Center, the social welfare group geared to provide care for abandoned and neglected babies under the ADD Foundation International, offered the sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord to celebrate their first anniversary at the ADD Convention Center on July 20, 2013.
Established July 20, 2012, the charity arm of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) is based in Apalit, Pampanga. The Center is accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and categorized as a child-caring agency, which temporarily shelters babies ages 0-2 ½ years old until they can be taken in by licensed foster families.
Sis. Annabelle Bercasio, one of the volunteer social workers in the center recalled the early beginnings of the Center in an interview, stressing, “The Infant Care was established during those times when there was rampant news of people abandoning babies in transport vehicles and in streets.”
The Center, an advocacy originally conceptualized by Kuya Daniel Razon, was envisioned to “take care of these babies as they grow, to give them the care and love their parents failed to give them.”
“Babies are part of the marginalized and vulnerable sector of the society. They cannot fight back when they are neglected and abused. It is indeed a great advocacy by our Church Leaders to provide care for these children’s wellbeing,” Sis. Bercasio elaborated.
Currently housing eight babies, the Center also takes in babies that are voluntarily surrendered to them for different reasons and cases. The parents of these babies must voluntarily give their full consent to the Infant Care Center.
“Our goal here in the Infant Care is to help reintegrate the children back to their families [in the right time],” stressed Sis Bercacio, before adding that “if ever they won’t have a family to return to, our option is to provide for them a foster family in which they can belong.”
Among eight of the babies being sheltered by the center, one of them is already being reintegrated back to his family.
Staff members of the Infant Care undergo a weekly training to comply with standard operating procedures imposed by DSWD for operators of child-care agencies in the Philippines. One important requirement include the employent of staff who can effectively watch over the children and provide child development programs during the children’s growing up years.
The Center provides the inhabitants’ basic needs like food, milk, diapers and clothes whereby registered social workers and caregivers are employed to assist. Nursing assistants are also tapped to render service in ensuring the monthly check-ups of the babies, as well as the completion of all their necessary vaccines.
Most important of all, the Center’s staff have been taught by Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel to care for the young ones as if they were their own, aside from making sure that the babies’ physiological needs are met.
“With God’s help, the children are well-provided, especially with the affection that they need,” remarked Sis. Bercasio.
(Written by Yanna Faye Ferrera)
(Photo by Rovic Balunsay, PVI)