We believe in ‘family’ homes for children. Many children in the Philippines do not have a place that they can think of in the same way that many of us think of our home – a place where they feel secure, where they can develop, where they are cared for, and where they simply belong. Our primary aim is to provide a family-style home to children who have lost the support of their parents. Loss of parental support can be through death or illness, being abandoned or being removed from parental care by government authorities due to abuse. All children will be delivered into our care through government social welfare departments. No child will be able to enter directly into one of our homes.
Our aim is to give every child placed in our care the opportunity to discover and develop their talents as they progress from childhood to adulthood. Our child development activities will be structured to teach responsibility to themselves and to others, so that they are able to look after themselves and their families independently when they are older. Of course a child’s life shouldn’t be all work and no play, and therefore we will ensure that our children have time to play and enjoy themselves, and stay healthy. To create a family atmosphere each of our homes will be managed by a house ‘mother’. Houses will not cater for more than 12 children so that children grow up with other children that feel like real ‘brothers and sisters’ living in the same home. House ‘mothers’ will typically hold a relevant qualification in such subjects as teaching, child social work or child psychology.
Each house mother will also be supported by a house ‘aunty’ whose job will be to assist with cleaning, cooking and laundry for the 12-child ‘family’. Both the house ‘mother’ and the house ‘aunty’ will live in the same house with the children to create a family atmosphere.
Every child that is able to attend a local school will do so, although there may be circumstances where children who are traumatised by their past are not able to cope with school immediately upon joining us, and these children will be home-taught until such time as they are ready to re-enter mainstream education.
We understand fully that we can’t replace the real family, and therefore we will continuously work with relevant government agencies to identify potential adoptive parents for the children in our care. However, if adoptive parents cannot be found for a child, we pledge to keep that child in our care until they have completed full-time education. Our search for adoptive parents will often mean that some children will use our homes as a short-term stepping stone on their way to placement with a real family, but even if their stay is only for one week, the home will have done its job by helping to rescue a child’s life.
Our philosophy for the development of our projects is to look for cost-effectiveness in the long-term. We are not looking to design and build low-quality housing. Our overriding principle is to keep designs simple and functional to keep costs down as much as possible, but to use good quality workmanship, detailing and materials to ensure later operation and maintenance costs are kept to a minimum. Our plan is to operate and maintain our developments so that they are always kept looking ‘as-new’. This cannot be achieved if the initial design and construction is not undertaken correctly to a good standard.
Finally, the Philippines Government through it Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), place a number of strict rules on the design, construction and operation of children’s homes. An operating licence confirming compliance with all regulations will be required before any Balay Dalangpan home becomes operational.