By NATASHA SMITH
The Centro de Apoio Familiar e Aconselhamento Parental (CAFAP), family support and parental counselling centre, opened its doors in Silves last week.
The free service is spearheaded by the Castelo dos Sonhos charity foundation and offers help to troubled families, to cope and resolve issues affecting them with particular attention paid to neglected children.
Staff at the centre believe that children are the most vulnerable members of society and not enough is being done to protect them.
The centre offers support to young people up to the age of 16 to evaluate and prevent dangerous situations, become independent, avoid scenarios which involve breaking the law and, as a result, being placed in an institution for young offenders.
In general terms, the centre will strive to improve the well-being, safety and rights of children up to the age of 16.
Staff are currently working with 10 families with different issues affecting them and potentially have the means and capability of helping at least 50 families at one time.
The service is not means tested so families from different socioeconomic backgrounds are not discriminated against. Among the issues discussed at the centre are emotional, medical, educational, psychological, social and financial.
At the opening ceremony, The Resident spoke to Silves Câmara President, Isabel Soares, who said that CAFAP deserved “as much support as possible” and she would do everything in her power to help the families involved. She also said that CAFAP and its staff are just what the community needs because the organisation “has great insight into the problems affecting people and are able to advise accordingly”.
Liliana Rodrigues, from the Castelo dos Sonhos, was presented with a cheque for 18,000 euros from the regional social security centre, the body which will also pay the members of staff at CAFAP. She thanked all the people, Portuguese and non-native, who have supported the charity over the years and “without this, the centre would still only be a dream”.
João Ferreira, vice-president of the Castelo dos Sonhos, said that CAFAP would strive to “help troubled families to lead dignified and happy lives”.
The team consists of a technical director, psychologist, sociologist, social services liaison, community intervention, education liaison and administrative staff.
They pride themselves in their methods of reaching out to families and maintaining good relations in the community. Not only do they meet people at the centre, they also visit families in their own environments and discuss sensitive issues in people’s homes, where they are more likely to open up because they are in their comfort zone.
“The day marks a happy one for Silves and I am proud to be a part of it” said Isabel Soares.
CAFAP’s office is located on Rua Cruz de Portugal, Silves. For more information e-mail [email protected] or call 282 441 654.