App to give Yolanda orphans a better future
by FFE PH News Staff
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has urged individuals or families currently providing care for orphaned children due to typhoon Yolanda to register the children to the Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification (RFTR).
The RFTR, developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is an open-source mobile phone application and data storage system that collects information about unaccompanied and separated children in emergency situations so they can be registered for care services and reunited with their families.
Around 109 children from Leyte have been listed as orphans as of 3 January, based on DSWD-UNICEF record.
DSWD secretary Dinky Soliman said that registering the orphaned children is for their best interest and is “important that they are protected from child traffickers, child abuse and exploitation.”
Secretary Soliman added that by registering, the said individuals or families can become licensed foster families or parents.
Once they become licensed, foster parents may avail benefits such as:
- Monthly subsidy for the foster child for his/her needs. Subsidy may be in the form of financial aid, goods, or support services.
- Treating the foster child as a dependent for a particular taxable year.
- Support care services such as skills training and livelihood assistance, among others.
Considering becoming a foster parent to children affected by typhoon Yolanda? Under the Foster Care Act, if an individual wishes to become a foster parent, he/she must be:
- Must be of legal age;
- Must be at least sixteen (16) years older than the child unless the foster parent is a relative;
- Must have a genuine interest, capacity and commitment in parenting and is able to provide a familial atmosphere for the child;
- Must have a healthy and harmonious relationship with each family member living with him or her;
- Must be of good moral character;
- Must be physically and mentally capable and emotionally mature;
- Must have sufficient resources to be able to provide for the family’s needs;
- Must be willing to further hone or be trained on knowledge, attitudes and skills in caring for a child; and
- 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 this Act.
If a foreigner wants to become a foster parent, he/she must possess the above qualifications as well as:
- Has resided in the Philippines for at least 12 continuous months
- Maintains such residence until the expiration of the foster family license.
The Social Welfare Department assured to support and guide foster families/parents throughout the process of fostering.
Although there is no estimated number of orphaned children due to Yolanda, around three million children have been affected according to estimates by the Save the Children in the Philippines. During Yolanda’s onslaught last 8 November, two local orphanages have also been wrecked.
Orphaned children are seen as the most vulnerable survivors after the calamity, according to DSWD.