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DSWD eyes adoption services, alternative child care programs in facilities

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is currently in dialogue with partner-stakeholders on the agency’s proposed implementation of adoption and alternative child care programs and services in all residential-based facilities catering to children across the country.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian emphasized during the consultation meeting held on Tuesday (May 14) at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City that the agency is advocating for the inclusion of adoption and alternative child care to the menu of programs offered by residential care facilities to provide children at these centers other opportunities as they exit the facilities.

“We are asking you to diversify and add to your existing mandates [the adoption and alternative child care program]. Bibigyan lang natin ng dalawang bagong program [ang mga bata] that will serve as an exit mechanism for [their] reintegration [into a new family],” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

“It is an option that should be ready in your arsenal of interventions,” the DSWD chief said.

Secretary Gatchalian said this initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with the National Authority for Child Care (NACC), an attached agency of the DSWD.

“The [law creating the] NACC took effect already with the whole mandate to find the children [their adoptive] families. But we are not saying that our other exit mechanisms are bad. We are just saying add two more,” Secretary Gatchalian told partners.

Secretary Gatchalian also highlighted that the consultation with the stakeholders is part of the efforts of the DSWD and NACC “to come up with a policy that will strengthen the adoption and alternative child care system in the country”.

The DSWD Secretary also vowed that the child-caring facilities run by the DSWD, local government units, and private organizations will be assisted and capacitated to implement the programs through the DSWD Academy and Regional counterparts of NACC.

“There are multiple avenues to capacitate yourself,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

Under the initiative, identified facilities without existing adoption and alternative child care programs will be provided with technical assistance from DSWD’s Standards Bureau (SB) to comply with the licensing and accreditation requirements and from NACC as technical experts in establishing said programs in their facilities.

Joining the Secretary during the consultation meeting were Undersecretary for Standards and Capacity Building Group (SCBG) Denise Florence FB Bernos-Bragas, Asst. Secretary for SCBG Janet Armas, Asst. Secretary for International Affairs, and Attached and Supervised Agencies Ellaine Fallarcuna, SB Director Megan Therese Manahan, and SB Assistant Bureau Director Cynthia Ilano.

NACC Executive Director, Undersecretary Janella Estrada, and NACC Assistant Secretary Rowena N. Macalintal also participated in the discussion.

For external partners, Atty. Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana of the Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines (ACCAP), ACCAP Executive Director Josephine Matol, and representatives from different clusters of Area-Based Standards Network (ABSNET) and other child caring agencies attended the meeting.

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