The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here continues to promote unconditional love for children. This is in line with this year’s celebration of the Adoption Consciousness Month with the theme “Spreading Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption”.
“This February, we should not just focus on showing love for our partners, friends, and relatives but we can also celebrate love for the children who are most in need of our concern and affection-those who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. And we can do that through the Alternative Parental Care program”, DSWD-CAR OIC- Regional Director Leo L. Quintilla said.
The Alternative Parental Care program is a child care or placement service provided to children in especially difficult circumstances who cannot be taken care of by their biological parents. This can be temporary and is called foster care that has the goal to provide temporary and planned substitute family care for the child while the biological family or relatives are being prepared for the child’s return or while a more appropriate permanent placement is being worked out. Kinship care and legal guardianship may also fall under foster care where as relatives and/or pre-identified individuals are given authority to look after the children. It also involves adoption that is a socio-legal process of giving a permanent home to a child whose parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights. This also gives the adopted child all the legal rights a biological child is mandated to have.
“Through the Alternative Parental Care, we are ensuring that the welfare and well-being of our children are being put first. This is because our social workers put in their best effort to look into the commitment, capacity, and compatibility of the prospective parents compared to the needs of the children. By going through the process, we are preparing not just the children, but the parents for a life-long journey of unconditional love”, Director Quintilla added.
In 2019, DSWD-CAR’s Adoption Resource and Referral Section (ARRS) was able to develop thirteen (13) prospective adoptive parents and twelve (12) foster parents.
“We would like to encourage individuals and couples who are interested to open their homes to our children to help us in spreading unconditional love. The DSWD-CAR is more than willing to assist you. We are also calling the attention of individuals who have simulated or tampered birth records to avail of the amnesty provided by the Simulated Birth Rectification Act, ” Director Quintilla said.
The Simulated Birth Rectification Act” or Republic Act (RA) No 11222 that was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on 21 February 2019 allows birth records to be corrected and provides amnesty to adoptive parents with children whose birth records have been simulated.
Birth simulation are cases in which the civil registry was tampered with to make it appear in a child’s birth record that he was born to someone other than his biological mother. Prior the passing of RA 11222, individuals who committed birth simulation are bound to face legal liabilities.
With the Act, amnesty from any criminal, civil, or administrative liability will only be given to adoptive parents if they changed the birth records “for the best interest of the child” and that the child has been consistently considered and treated as the parents’ own son or daughter.
The law also fixes the status and affiliation of the child whose birth was simulated by giving them all the benefits of adoption.
Meanwhile, the DSWD-CAR was able to place 72 children under foster care, endorse five (5) children for inter-country adoption, and give 20 Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption that is a prerequisite for the adoption of these children.
“It may take a while, but undergoing the legal process will be worth it. Together, we can give our children, especially those in our facilities not just homes but families”, Director Quintilla said.
In observance of the celebration, the DSWD-CAR through its Adoption Resource and Referral Section has set-up Adoption Help Desks in SM City Baguio, Baguio Centermall and Maharlikha Complex on 22-23 February 2020.
Meanwhile, interested individuals may visit DSWD-CAR Adoption Resource and Referral Section at #40 North Drive, Baguio City or contact (074) 661-04-30 loc.25003 or (02) 396-65-80.
By Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva