Koronadal, South Cotabato – In support of the celebration of the 23rd National Children’s Month with the theme, “Komunidad at Pamahalaan Magkaisa, Pang-aabuso sa Bata Wakasan na!,” NEDA Regional Office (NRO) XII sponsored a series of lectures on 18 November 2015 held at the NEDA XII Office, Koronadal City. The lectures focused on adoption and foster care.

Ms. Sarah M. Lucman and Ms. Norhaidah D. Sanggacala, both from DSWD XII, shared their knowledge on RA 8552, An Act Establishing the Rules and Policies on the Domestic Adoption of Filipino Children and for Other Purposes, also known as the Domestic Act of 1998; and RA 10165 entitled An Act to Strengthen and Propagate Foster Care and to Provide Funds Therefor, otherwise known as the Foster Act of 2012.

RA 8552 is the governing law for Filipino citizens adopting other Filipinos, whether relative or strangers, with some exceptions. Among others, the orientation covered the following basic provisions of the law: Eligibility, Procedures, Effects of Adoption, and Violations and Penalties relative to adoption.

Meanwhile, RA 10165 is a law that adheres to the State policy to provide every child who is neglected, abused, surrendered, dependent, abandoned, under socio-cultural difficulties, or with special needs, with an alternative family that will provide love and care, as well as opportunities for growth and development. To qualify as foster parent, one must meet the following: a) Must be of legal age; b) Must be at least sixteen (16) years older than the child unless the foster parent is a relative; c) Must have a genuine interest, capacity and commitment in parenting and is able to provide a familial atmosphere for the child; d) Must have a healthy and harmonious relationship with each family member living with him or her; e) Must be of good moral character; f) Must be physically and mentally capable and emotionally mature; g) Must have sufficient resources to be able to provide for the family’s needs; h) Must be willing to further hone or be trained on knowledge, attitudes and skills in caring for a child; and (i) Must not already have the maximum number of children under his foster care at the time of application or award, as may be provided in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the said Act.

Other topics on RA 10165 were: Parental Authority of Foster Parents, procedures in applying for foster care, long term foster placement and adoption of a foster child, among others.

Supervising Economic Development Specialist Ms. Helen L. Vestal of the Development Research Division of NEDA XII delivered the opening statement. She pointed out the change in the celebration of the Children’s Month from October to November as stated in RA 10661 or the National Children’s Month Act.

In his closing statements, Regional Director Arturo G. Valero of NEDA XII thanked the resource speakers for the knowledge they shared and for their patience in answering questions from the NRO XII Staff. (Apollo Y. Manlawe, NEDA XII-DRD)