Childcare chief vows to keep siblings together in foster care, adoption

Newly appointed child authority chief visits House of Refuge Foundation

MANILA — Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary for
National Authority for Child Care Janella Ejercito Estrada said that the number of sibling cases in residential care is a growing concern given the adoptive families’ preference to adopt a single child and during infancy.
“The situation of siblings in institutions or under the care of the Government is my top priority. These kids are in the system through no fault of their own and have suffered traumatic experiences including abandonment and rejection. They continue to be anxious on what could their life be. It is our job to establish normalcy in their lives,” said Usec. Ejercito Estrada.
About 154 children of 56 sibling groups have been declared legally available for adoption and to benefit from the newly institutionalized administrative adoption process through R.A. 11642 or the Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act.
Many of whom have been voluntarily surrendered by their biological parents due to inability to care and provide for the children. The Government and childcare institutions take over to provide either temporary care to allow the parents to recuperate or to place the children in adoptive families who are best able to love and care for the children.
“Clearly there are structural reforms that have to be introduced to specifically address sibling cases under alternative childcare methods. As much as possible, siblings cannot be separated as they have endured a series of trauma long enough. To tear them apart is a triple blow against their morale and development,” Estrada stressed.
“We will continue to convene scientific and legal experts, child care institutions, placement agencies, non-government organizations and civil society groups to consolidate their experience-based and technical inputs to introduce reforms and bring about change in the current alternative child care system,” Usec. Estrada said.
“Among the initial steps to undertake are residential care reforms to ensure that children have access to quality education, the best healthcare, and mental health support. Providing their basic needs during their stay in the system provides them hope and prepares them to establish normalcy in their life,” Estrada explained.
“There is also a need to provide a coping mechanism for the children to heal from the trauma of abuse and rejection. Mental illness, trauma history, and behavioral challenges have a large impact on a person’s ability to lead a successful and fulfilling life,” Estrada stressed.

Estrada added that there is a need to educate and encourage adoptive families on extending their homes for siblings instead of one child through the support of capable social workers.
“These siblings will be able to cope and live a happy and stable life much easier if they have the support of each other and are never alone in facing a new chapter of their lives,” she said.
“By improving their lives as early as now, we can expect positive outcomes during their
adulthood and help them live a productive and meaningful life. Whatever they have gone through, whatever their past may be, it is everyone’s job to heal them and provide them with opportunities to freely craft their own future,” Usec. Estrada stressed.

DSWD warns public against falsifying documents in requesting assistance

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is pleased to facilitate requests for assistance through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, but warned that those who submit fake documentary requirements will be meted with appropriate sanctions following due process.

AICS is a DSWD program which provides aid to individuals and families in crisis who are seeking assistance for medical, funeral, food, transportation, educational, and other support services.

In an effort to make the program more accessible, the DSWD streamlined the program process to ensure that the clients will not be burdened by the requirements.

However, this more lenient process might be taken advantage by unscrupulous individuals to offer fake documents to beneficiaries as well as to abusive clients who use falsified documents.

As repeatedly mentioned by DSWD Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo since he assumed his post, fixers and unscrupulous individuals compromising the integrity of the program will be dealt with accordingly. 

The DSWD appealed to the public to help safeguard the integrity of its programs and services, and report fixers and clients using fake documents to avail of these. ###

DSWD’s Cash Division receives recognition for 100% utilization of cash allocation

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) awarded its Cash Division under the Finance and Management Service (FMS) with a Certificate of Commendation for achieving 100% utilization of DSWD’s Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) for the first semester of 2022.

The NCA is a cash authority issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to cover the cash requirements of government agencies.

As a government agency which is mandated to spend allocated funds to uplift the living conditions and empowers disadvantaged individuals, families and communities for an improved quality of life, a full utilization of the cash allocation means ensuring optimal spending for the effective and timely implementation of programs, projects, and services.

The Cash Division of the Department has the responsibility of efficiently managing the NCA.  It regularly monitors the cash position of each office, bureau, and service (OBS) in the Central Office to ensure the maintenance of optimal cash balance.

The NCA is utilized in accordance with the approved Work and Financial Plan of OBS in the implementation of various programs and projects including payment of mandatory expenses through authorized modes of disbursements such as the issuance of Modified Disbursements Scheme (MDS) checks and List of Due and Demandable Accounts Payable-Advice to Debit Accounts (LDDAP-ADA).

On January 04, 2022, DBM released an NCA covering the expenses of the DSWD for the first quarter with a total of Nineteen Billion Nine Hundred Seventy-Seven Million Three Hundred Twenty-Seven Thousand Pesos (P19, 977,327,000.00). On the other hand, the NCA for the second quarter was issued on March 16, 2022, amounting to Forty-Seven Billion Nine Hundred Seventy-Seven Million Nine Thousand Pesos (P47, 977,009,000.00).

The said issuances were based on the Monthly Disbursement Programs (MDPs) by the DSWD submitted on 23 November 2021 to DBM.

To ensure an overall efficient cash management of the DSWD, the Cash Division coordinates with all the Department’s OBS on a monthly basis in the utilization of their allocated funds and assists them, if needed. They also provide the management with a monthly Cash Position Report (CPR) of all OBS and a consolidated CPR including all Field Offices with a narrative for all MDS accounts to enable the management to make sound financial decisions on matters relating to cash management.

The Cash Division also recognized the efforts of the OBS in their adherence to the planned MDPs.

With the award, the DSWD aims to motivate all its offices, bureaus, and services at the Central Office as well as its Field Offices to provide excellent public service and make the 100% utilization of NCAs not just for mere statistics but should also translate that the budget was well spent for the programs, projects, and services for the needs of the beneficiaries. ###