About » Refugio


Refugio Aboim Ascensao is a Private Christian Institution of Social Solidarity founded in 1933, in Faro, by Manuel de Sande Lemos, in recognition of the will of his uncle Rodrigo Aboim Ascensao, who founded The Protective Association of Early Childhood in Lisbon in 1901.

First established as a breast milk support center for single mothers, then a medical service for newborns and premature infants. The institutions evolution in technical and methodical focus over the years has maintained the founder’s primary goal “Support for Early Childhood”.

Emergencia Infantil

Emergencia Infantil

Since 1985 the Refugio has undergone a number of changes in regards to its facilities, socio-legal framework, and clinical and teaching services for children temporarily living at the Refugio.

Based on agreements with the `ministries of Social Security, Justice, Health, Education and the Municipality of Faro, the Refugio is now a major center for temporary emergency protection – the first to be created in Portugal for at risk children of both sexes, from newborns to 6 years of age.

The Refugio derives no income or profit from its methodology and donations made to the Refugio Aboim Ascensao are supported with the appropriate income tax receipts. 

The Emergencia Infantil program, created by Luis Villas-Boas, director of Refugio Aboim Ascensao, on August 1st, 1985 was an effort to continue the child protection reconstruction work begun at the Refugio to benefit at risk children 0 to 6.

Emergencia Infantil’s primary aim: is the rapid integration of the child to its natural family.  As the first and primary temporary center for child protection in Portugal it endeavors to reconnect children with their families whenever possible, if not, it facilitates alterative family arrangements such as adoption, but only upon competent courts decision the former is unsuitable.   

Over the years Emergencia Infantil’s unique and effective model of intervention has been recognized nationally and internationally for its ability to help children have - the right to be loved.

Improved Process


After the right to life, the right to family is the first of all rights.  Following the inauguration of Emergencia Infantil’s program in 1985, by Refugio Aboim Ascensao, it was determined no child would be admitted into temporary protection without the states – social security, courts, health and education departments first evaluating and ensuring protective services were the necessary, and last resort to protect a child.

Refugio Aboim Ascensao has participated, been invited and promoted seminars, meetings, conferences and forms for both European and International participation, such as the International Children’s Forum in 1997, which included participation of 57 countries.  It intends on continuing voicing the rights of abused and neglected children and bearing witness to the benefits early intervention and interdisciplinary action in favor of children at risk.