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DSWD cites lack of available case folders of GHI children in Senate hearing

Rex Gatchalian at Senate Hearing re GHI
Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian attends on Wednesday (July 5) the fact-finding hearing of the Senate Committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality, regarding the controversy involving Gentle Hands Inc.

During the inquiry, Secretary Gatchalian presented the key points stated in the DSWD’s cease and desist order, emphasizing the ‘imminent danger’ posed by the overcrowding, poor sanitation, and fire hazards in GHI’s childcare facility in Quezon City

The hearing was presided by committee chair Senator Risa Hontiveros, who was also the author of the Senate resolution that called for the inquiry.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian told a Senate hearing on Wednesday (July 5) that Gentle Hands Inc. (GHI) has no readily-available case folders of its children-residents at the time that the cease-and-desist order (CDO) was issued against its Quezon City childcare facility.

During the first hearing of the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, Secretary Gatchalian explained that the lack of readily-available case folders is a manifestation of potential issues related to the accountability and transparency of GHI, as well as in its ability to track the children’s progress and provide appropriate interventions.

“When we transferred (the children ), ayaw nilang (GHI) ibigay iyong (they do not want to provide us the) complete set of (case) folders,” Secretary Gatchalian told the Senate committee headed by Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Senators earlier inquired about the protocols and procedures that were followed during the transfer of children from GHI to other DSWD centers and childcare facilities, particularly in the aspect that ensures all children were accounted for.

The DSWD chief pointed out that the case folders are essential for maintaining accurate and comprehensive records that are critical for ensuring the well-being, safety, and proper care of each child under the care of the child-caring facility.

Secretary Gatchalian also told the Senate committee that the Department has been requesting the privately-run child caring facility to turn over the case folders of the children to the agency.

“They refused, categorically refused to give us the case folders. We had to demand it over and over during the conference meetings,” the DSWD Secretary said.

The DSWD chief assured the public that all children from GHI are now “fully accounted for” and “fully inventoried,” emphasizing the importance of proper documentation to protect the rights and interests of the children who were transferred to DSWD centers.

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