Caretakers of ‘Yolanda’ orphans told to register
MANILA, Philippines—Families and individuals who are taking care of children orphaned by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” are urged to register with the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) rapid family tracing and reunification program and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to protect their wards from child traffickers.
“This is for the best interest of the child. It is important that these children are protected from child traffickers, child abuse and exploitation,” said Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman.
By registering, these families and individuals can become licensed foster families or parents, and may avail of the benefits provided under the Foster Care Act of 2012, Soliman said.
The DSWD and Unicef started last December a tracking program for orphaned children.
The women’s and children’s protection desk of the local government units are helping in the collection of information about children separated from their families and unaccompanied minors found in the Yolanda-stricken areas.
A total of 109 children from Leyte have been listed as orphans as of Jan. 3, according to DSWD-Unicef records.
Republic Act No. 10165, or the Foster Care Act of 2012, sets out the requirements for individuals or families wishing to provide alternative parental care for abandoned, neglected, orphaned and other children with special needs.
Those who wish to become a foster parent must be of legal age; at least 16 years older than the child, unless the foster parent is a relative; have a genuine interest, capacity and commitment in parenting, and an ability to provide a familial atmosphere for the child; have a healthy and harmonious relationship with each family member living with him/her; be of good moral character; be physically and mentally capable and emotionally mature; have sufficient resources to be able to provide for the family’s needs; be willing to further hone or be trained on knowledge, attitudes and skills in caring for a child; and not already have the maximum number of children under his foster care at the time of application or award.
To foster a child, the applicant parent must first attend a foster care seminar or forum where an orientation on the expected roles is given.
After the orientation, if the prospective foster parent wants to pursue his or her intentions, he/she must file an application with any DSWD Field Office or licensed foster care or child-placing agency.
A DSWD or child-placing agency social worker will then assess the capacity, motivation and potentials of the applicant, and prepare a home study report that presents his/her background and circumstances, Soliman said.
If found qualified, a foster care license valid for three years is issued to the applicant.
A foster child is given a monthly subsidy to support his/her needs. The subsidy may be in the form of financial aid, goods or support services.
A foster parent may list the foster child as a dependent for a particular taxable year, and is also given skills training and livelihood assistance, among other things.
Throughout the process of fostering, the DSWD and licensed foster care or child-placing agencies will be around to support and guide the foster families or parents in every step of the way, Soliman said.
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