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DSWD calls for stronger support for Juvenile Justice Welfare Act

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) urged duty-bearers to support and strengthen the implementation of the amended Republic Act No. 9344, more popularly known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.

According to DSWD Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez, who is also the agency’s spokesperson, “all duty-bearers need to cooperate and ensure the proper implementation of the law to protect the rights and welfare of children in conflict with the law (CICLs) and children at risk (CARs).”

“The DSWD continues to emphasize that CICLs and CARs are victims of unfortunate life circumstances that they have no control over such as abuse, having a dysfunctional family, and poverty. These minors should be treated with utmost care and protection,” Asst. Sec. Lopez asserted.

The DSWD spokesperson shared there are only 108 operational Bahay Pag-Asa (BPAs) in the country, and not all have sufficient facilities and budget to maintain their operations.

“Our attached agency, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), consistently provides technical assistance to local government units (LGUs) for the development and improvement of their respective Comprehensive Local Juvenile Intervention Program (CLJIP),” Asst. Sec. Lopez pointed out.

The CLJIP indicates the annual budget and implementation plan for LGUs to conduct their respective programs on juvenile intervention.

“We need to invest more on the proper implementation of the JJWA. Aside from increasing the budget, among the priorities that we propose to duty-bearers is to hire more social workers, and ensure that social workers, police, and other duty-bearers, especially in the barangay level, have enough training and specialization in handling juvenile justice cases,” Asst. Sec. Lopez explained.

Currently, the DSWD is in the process of operationalizing the DSWD Academy in Taguig City.

Once the learning facility is established it will provide training, capacity building activities, and other learning development interventions for social workers to be able them to adapt with the changing trends in the practice of social work, including specialization on juvenile justice.

“Young Filipinos are the future of our country. In order to lead them on the right track, we need a whole-of-society approach to ensure the provision of responsive and preventive community-based programs that will help provide an enabling environment for them to grow as mature and productive individuals,” Asst. Sec. Lopez said.

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