DSWD committed to building transition homes for children in conflict with the law

September 20, 2010 10:36 am 

MANILA, Sept. 20 –- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced it will prioritize the construction of transition homes for children in conflict with the law this coming 2011.

The DSWD made this pledge during the recently concluded roundtable discussion on Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, held at the University of the Philippine Law Center.

The forum was held in collaboration with the Philippine-American Educational Foundation.

DSWD Undersecretary Alicia R. Bala said they will push for the construction of transition homes as this will provide the children a safe haven for rehabilitation and reformation.

She also added the establishment of youth homes for in every city and municipality is mandated by Republic Act 9344.

Bala stressed that these homes will serve as 24-hour child-caring institutions managed by local government units and licensed and/or accredited non-government organizations providing short-term residential care for children in conflict with the law who are awaiting court disposition of their cases or transfer to other agencies or jurisdiction.

“For 2010, the construction of the first transition homes will be in Misamis Occidental which has been identified as priority,” Bala stressed.

The DSWD has allocated funds this year for the upgrading of existing facilities like Center for Restorative Activities, Development and Learning Experience, and National Bilibid Prison.

Bala said transition homes shall be established in seven cities, two municipalities and eight provinces in 2011.

The cities are Naga, Cauayan, Urdaneta, Surigao, Lucena, Puerto Princesa, General Santos; and municipalities of Baybay and Bangued; while the provinces are Leyte, Camarines Sur, Isabela, Pangasinan, Bukidnon, Quezon, Palawan and Abra.

“Aside from logistical support for the construction of the transition homes, the JJWC shall also ensure that the facilities comply with international and national standards,” she emphasized.

Apart from the construction of the transition homes, Bala explained that implementation of comprehensive intervention and diversion programs at the local government level in partnership with non-government organization will also be undertaken by the agency.

It has selected eight provinces, namely: Davao, Misamis Oriental, Camarines Sur, Abra, Surigao del Sur, Quezon, Palawan and Benguet, and eight cities, such as Cebu City, as well as Manila, Quezon, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Malabon and Taguig in the National Capital Region, which will serve a pilot areas based on high incidence of CICL and commitment of support from concerned local government units.

Other priorities of the DSWD are: documentation of positive results of the law and best practices in handling and managing children in conflict with the law; installation of data-base and knowledge center that would capture the socio-economic profile of the children, and causes of juvenile offending; strengthen institutional partnership with organizations and agencies directly or indirectly involved with the affected children; conduct of information campaign; provision of trainings to members of the barangay council for the protection of children and family court judges; and undertake a follow-up study on discernment of Filipino children aged seven to 17, and the study on profile of sexual offenders at the New Bilibid Prison.

“We acknowledge that there are challenges and gaps that should be addressed immediately. As the inter-agency council mandated to guarantee and oversee its full implementation, we will mobilize, build stronger and lasting alliances and partnerships with organizations especially with local government units, not only for this law to work but most importantly, for us to fulfill our commitment to children,” Bala emphasized.

Meanwhile, from 2006-2009, some 7,426 children in conflict with the law have been released from jails. (PNA)



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