House forms TWG to finalize bills on alternative child care

MANILAThe House committee on the welfare of children has created a technical working group (TWG) to consolidate four measures that seek to strengthen alternative family care for children in the country as an option other than adoption and foster family care.

According to a statement issued Wednesday, the TWG, to be headed by Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, shall be tasked to harmonize House Bills 173, 1163, 3887 and 5090.

In his explanatory note, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, author of HB 173, said the measure seeks to fill a gap in the existing welfare facilities by creating foster homes of a new kind which could be adapted on a broader basis to each child's needs.

Nograles said his bill seeks to combine all the advantages of the private foster family through an Alternative Care Agency (ACA) with those of the best type of children's home.

"The ACA is basically very like an ordinary private foster family. It has, however, certain advantages. It can be supervised and controlled in its work and adults in-charge of the children can be carefully selected and trained," he said.

"It has the merit of existing solely in the interests of the children committed to its care. It is exclusively concerned with meeting their needs and with caring for their many and diverse problems," he added.

Nograles said that alternative care of children does not totally cut off children's contact with their biological families.

Except when the children's welfare will be endangered, or they are abused by their own family members, alternative care of children allows biological parents to participate in the rearing of the children given to the care of ACAs.

Under the bill, the ACA refers to a child-caring or child-placing institution licensed and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Meanwhile, HB 5090 proposes the creation of a National Child Care Authority (NCCA) to implement laws relevant to alternative child care in the country.

Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, author of HB 5090, said in her explanatory note that the establishment of NCCA will not only improve and speed up the process of adoption, foster care, and guardianship, but will also increase its fiscal capacity which would improve its services offered to the stakeholders.

Under HB 5090, NCCA shall be mandated to facilitate the adoption process. It shall be the sole authority to accept, evaluate and decide all applications for local and inter-country adoption.

Source: Philippine News Agency