The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducts a forum today, November 15, dubbed, “Foster Care, Anong Bago?” at the Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City.

The forum presents the newly-signed Republic Act No. 10165 or the Foster Care Act of 2012. Atty. Melissa D. Gorospe, Attorney IV of DSWD’s Legal Service, will discuss the salient features and provisions of the law while Atty. Eric Henry Joseph F. Mallonga, Founding President and Executive Director of the Meritxell Children’s World Foundation Inc., will tackle the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10165.

Foster care is the provision of planned temporary substitute parental care to a child by a foster parent duly licensed by the DSWD.

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said that foster care is a very nurturing alternative parental care for abandoned, neglected, orphaned children and other children with special needs.

Under the law, Secretary Soliman explained that a foster child will receive monthly subsidy from the DSWD and will automatically become a PhilHealth beneficiary of the foster parent.

Moreover, foster parents will be provided with support care services such as counseling, training on child care and development, respite care, skills training and livelihood assistance. In addition, foster parents will be entitled to personal tax exemption and additional exemption for dependents.

“Social workers would first determine the capacity and motivation of applicant-foster parents. Then, qualified foster parents, after receiving their licenses, would be made to undergo matching process supervised by DSWD-accredited institutions,” Secretary Soliman added.

Foster parents may also apply for a Long-Term Foster Placement Authority (LTFPA) if the child under their care has been with them for at least seven (7) years.

Under the law, the program will have an initial budget of P25 million in 2013 to support the foster care programs of the DSWD and other child-caring agencies.

The measure was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 11, 2012.

For the First Semester of 2012, the DSWD has provided temporary family care to 367 children through foster care.

The Social Welfare and Development Forum is convened quarterly by the DSWD to inform, consult and coordinate with major stakeholders of SWD programs in the national and local levels. ###