Cayetano bats for simplified adoption process for ‘abandoned, neglected’ children
MANlLA, Philippines — Senator Pia Cayetano urged her colleagues to immediately approve a bill that would simplify the process of finding a “second home” for “abandoned and neglected” children across the country.
Cayetano issued the call in time for the celebration of Adoption Consciousness Month this February.
In a privilege speech she delivered on Wednesday, the senator pushed for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 61 or the proposed Alternative Child Care Act which seeks to make “adoption administrative in nature to effectively streamline adoption procedures and make formal adoption accessible.”
Cayetano cited a report from the United Nations’ Children’s Right and Emergency Relief Organization (UNICEF) which showed that about 1.8 million Filipino children remain abandoned or neglected for various reasons, including extreme poverty, natural disasters, armed conflicts, and other problems at home.
Citing data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the senator added that only around 2,191 children in the country have been placed for domestic adoption between 2010 and 2018.
“In eight years, [that’s] less than 300 children we are placing for adoption [yearly],” she pointed out.
“It is my personal conviction that we consider the state of each of these children,” added Cayetano, herself a foster parent and eventual adoptive mother to an 8-year-old boy.
The said bill seeks to codify laws on alternative child care and further improve the country’s foster care programs, such that out-of-home care provided by residential facilities shall only be a last resort for abandoned and neglected children.
The bill also makes domestic adoption administrative in nature in order to streamline its procedures and make formal adoption more accessible to families who are willing to adopt a child, Cayetano noted.
“The Constitution states that, ‘the State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development,’” she said in her speech.
“I leave all of you with that visual of 1.8 million Filipino children without families who will care for and love them – not a mother or father to read them a bedtime story, to tuck them in, to even ensure that they come home when the sun goes down,” she added
“This is the objective of improving our law so that we can expedite our [adoption and foster care] procedures, and we can place these children [under foster or adoptive families] faster so that they can have the home that they deserve,” Cayetano added.
Edited by MUF
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