“Church Aids Mexican Program,” Liahona, July 2007, N5–N6
Since 1929 the government in Mexico has been trying to improve the lives of children through what is currently known as the National System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF). Operated on federal, state, and city levels, DIF has been instrumental in strengthening families and helping low-income individuals. Now the Church has teamed up with DIF to continue improving the lives of children.
Luis Camarillo, area welfare manager for the Mexico North Area, has seen the problems children in his area face and wanted to help those children. He and others started to look at problems children faced in the area and found that many suffered from two things.
“Nuevo Leon State has no street children; however, it has children suffering from abuse or who are abandoned,” Brother Camarillo said.
Brother Camarillo and other members found out about DIF’s efforts to help the children through a local foster-care program and decided that they would like to assist DIF. He contacted Dr. Alejandro Alberto Morton Martínez, the child and family protection director at DIF, and offered to partner with the group to help the program. Since then, members have been working with Dr. Morton on the foster-care program.
Thanks to offers from the Church and the State of Utah’s foster-care system, the DIF and others involved have been able to receive valuable training on the topic of foster-care.
“A couple of service missionaries came down here to Monterrey from Utah and provided basic training to about 50 potential trainers,” Brother Camarillo said.
Through Humanitarian Services, Brother Camarillo, Dr. Morton, and several others have been able to travel to Utah to receive intensive training from the Utah Department of Children and Family Services. The training covered the basics of how to set up and keep a foster-care system functioning and also offered participants field experience. While in Utah, the participants visited with the Church Welfare Department and LDS Family Services.
Although the foster-care program in Nuevo Leon is still progressing, the training Brother Camarillo and others have received thus far has already started to pay off.
“Because of the training, DIF has improved the recruiting and selection process of potential foster families,” Brother Camarillo said. “The children are expected to have better experiences … than others placed in families who were not recruited applying the new process learned through the Church.”
Thus far the experience of working with DIF has been a good one for everyone involved, including Brother Camarillo. “It is hard to find an organization whose members are as committed to doing good as are those working for DIF,” Brother Camarillo said. “It has been a wonderful experience working with such an organization.”
In addition to helping start the foster-care program, Brother Camarillo has helped orchestrate several humanitarian and service projects with DIF, in which wheelchairs, medical equipment, and furniture were donated.