DSWD urges individuals, families taking care of 'Yolanda'-orphaned children to become foster parents

January 8, 2014 11:27 pm 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Jan. 8 (PNA) — Families and individuals who are taking care of children orphaned due to the devastation caused by typhoon "Yolanda" in the Visayas last November should come out and avail themselves of the benefits provided under the Foster Act of 2012.

“By registering the orphaned children who are under their care, they can become licensed foster families or parents that can avail them of the benefits provided under the Foster Care Act of 2012,” Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon J. Soliman said on Wednesday.

According to her, by registering the orphaned children, these individual can also help the DSWD and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in tracking the number of children orphaned by "Yolanda."

Soliman pointed out that registering the orphaned children will be for the best interest of the children as the DSWD can also monitor and check their condition regularly.

She also emphasized that the department will not take away the children from the custody of those who are giving care to them at present.

“It is important that we will also keep a record of the orphaned children to prevent them from becoming victims of human trafficking, abuse and exploitation,” she explained.

By registering the orphaned children, the information about who they are, where they come from, who are their real parents can help them not only in psychological but also physical aspects, especially in the event that they will have hereditary illnesses.

Soliman said that Republic Act No. 10165, otherwise known as the Foster Care Act of 2012, provides a nurturing alternative parental care for abandoned, neglected, orphaned and other children with special needs.

She added that under the said law, a foster parent can treat the foster child as a dependent for a particular taxable year.

In addition, he or she is also given skills training and livelihood assistance, among other benefits.

The foster child will also be given a monthly subsidy to support his/her needs.

The subsidy may be in the form of financial aid, goods or support services.

To become an eligible foster parent, one must be:

* of legal age, good moral character, physically and mentally capable, and emotionally mature;

* 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 ability to provide a familial atmosphere for the child;

* have a healthy and harmonious relationship with each family member living with him/her;

* 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;

* not already have the maximum number of children under his foster care at the time of application or award.

Soliman said that in fostering a child, one 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/her intentions, he or she must file an application with any DSWD Field Office or license foster care or child placing agency.

A DSWD or child placing agency social worker will assess the capacity, motivation and potentials of the applicant, and prepare a home study report that presents his/her background and circumstances.

If found qualified, a foster care license shall be issued to the applicant which is valid for three years. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ

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