The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is always in need of caring individuals who are willing to foster children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. As a foster parent, you will provide these children with a safe and nurturing environment while they wait to be reunited with their families or placed in a more permanent home.
Have you ever thought of becoming a foster parent? Do you have a heart for children and would like to help them in need? Do you have time on your hands and love to help others? Then, being part of the DSWD foster care program might just be what you’re looking for.
But before you get your feet wet, it’s important that you understand the differences between adoption and fostering and what the requirements are. Keep reading to learn more about getting into the DSWD foster care program and what it takes to be a foster parent.
What is DSWD Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary, state-subsidized guardianship of children whose families can no longer provide them with a safe home.
Foster care is designed to provide stability for children who cannot be cared for by their own parents; it seeks to ensure that every eligible child has access to a stable, nurturing home environment.
What are the differences between adoption and fostering?
The most common misconception about adopting children is that it’s the same as being their foster parents. However, there are several differences between these two processes.
Adoption is a legal process that permanently changes the status of a child from being a ward of the state to being an official member of your family. You will have full custody and control over your adopted child, and you’ll be able to make all major decisions about their upbringing.
Fostering is a temporary arrangement that gives a child a safe place to live while they are waiting to be adopted. When you foster, you’re acting as an extension of the state’s child-welfare system rather than adopting them into your family. You will act as the legal guardian for your foster children until another family adopts them.
Who may foster?
An applicant who meets all of the following qualifications may be a foster parent:
(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 to parenting and can 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 hone further 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 this Act.
Provided, That in determining who is the best-suited foster parent, the relatives of the child shall be given priority, so long as they meet the above qualifications: Provided, further, That an alien possessing the above qualifications and who has resided in the Philippines for at least twelve (12) continuous months and maintains such residence until the termination of placement by the DSWD or expiration of the foster family license, may qualify as a foster parent.
Who may be placed under foster care?
(a) A child who is abandoned, surrendered, neglected, dependent or orphaned;
(b) A child who is a victim of sexual, physical, or any other form of abuse or exploitation;
(c) A child with special needs;
(d) A child whose family members are temporarily or permanently unable or unwilling to provide the child with adequate care;
(e) A child awaiting adoptive placement and who would have to be prepared for family life;
(f) A child who needs long-term care and close family ties but who cannot be placed for domestic adoption;
(g) A child whose adoption has been disrupted;
(h) A child who is under socially difficult circumstances such as, but not limited to, a street child, a child in armed conflict or a victim of child labor or trafficking;
(i) A child who committed a minor offense but is released on recognizance, or who is in custody supervision or whose case is dismissed; and
(j) A child who is in need of special protection as assessed by a social worker, an agency or the DSWD.
Provided, That in the case of (b), (c), (f), (h), (i), and (j), the child must have no family willing and capable of caring and providing for him.
What are the Requirements for Foster Care?
Requirements for FOSTER PARENTS
1. Application Form
2. Birth Certificate
3. Marriage Certificate, Divorce Annulment, Declaration of Nullity of legal separation documents (if any)
4. Medial Certificate issued at least six months
5. Income Tax Return or Certificate of Employment
6. National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance or Police Clearance issued at least one year
7. Barangay Certificate stating that the applicant is a resident of the barangay, the length of his/her residence therein, he/she is of good moral character
8. 3×5 inch sized Whole Body Photos of the applicant and, where applicable, his/her family taken within the last three (3) months
9. Certificate of Attendance to Foster Care Forum
** For Alien applicants
1. Certificate of Residence in the Philippines issued by the Bureau of Immigration or the Department of Foreign Affairs
2. Two (2) character references from non-relatives who know the applicant/s in the country of which he/she is a citizen or was a resident before residing in the Philippines, except for those who have resided in the Philippines for more than 15 years
How to Join DSWD Foster Care and Become a Foster Parent
Step 1: Attend the Foster Care forum or seminar
The foster care forum or seminar is a requirement for all applicants who want to adopt a child. The forum will help you understand the legal processes involved in adopting a Filipino child and what it would mean for your family. It also allows prospective adoptive parents to meet with experienced social workers from DSWD’s Child Welfare Unit (CWU) and other government agencies, including DSWD’s Field Offices, Legal Assistance Unit (LAU), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Step 2: Submit the application to DSWD Field Office or Child-placing Agency
Applying for foster care is done through a local DSWD Field Office. Applying for adoption, however, is done through a child-placing agency (CPA) in the Philippines. CPA is an organization or person who has been accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide legal services to prospective adoptive parents.
Step 3: Submission of Home Study Report
A home study report is a document that certifies that the prospective adoptive parents have met certain requirements and are ready to adopt a child. A home study report is required for both foster care and adoption.
This document is prepared by a licensed social worker who has conducted an assessment of the prospective adoptive family and its home environment. The social worker will then submit a written report to the DSWD, determining whether or not the parents are qualified to be adopted. The home study report must be prepared before a child can be matched with prospective adoptive parents.
Step 4: Issuance of Foster Family Care License
A foster family care license is required for all licensed foster families in the Philippines. The license is valid for one year and can be renewed. It must be renewed before it expires or else the foster family loses their license and has to reapply again.
This document is issued after the social worker has completed a home study report. The foster family care license is issued by the DSWD, which will also notify the Central Adoption Resource Center (CARC) of its issuance.
With this license, the foster family can legally accept and care for children in their home.
Step 5: Matching
This step entails the DSWD matching children in need of foster care with licensed foster families. This is done through a database that contains information about the child and his or her family, as well as the needs of the child. The DSWD also uses its own case files to look for potential matches. Once a match is made, the social worker will inform both parties about each other’s details and set up an introduction meeting.
This is important to ensure that the foster family and child will be a good fit.
Step 6: Placement
This step entails the actual placement of the child in his or her foster family. The social worker will first bring the child to his or her foster home and introduce him or her to all household members. This is done so the foster parents feel comfortable having a new member added to their family. After this introduction, it is up to both parties if they want to continue with their arrangement.
Step 7: Supervision of Foster Care placement
The DSWD’s foster care program is designed to support and assist foster parents. The social worker will visit the foster home regularly, at least once every two weeks, to check on the child’s progress and well-being. The social worker may also go around the community to check if other children need placement under this program.
Step 8: Termination of placement
And lastly, if the foster parents and the DSWD feel that they have done all they can, they will terminate the placement. The child may be returned to his or her biological parents or placed in another home if there are no other options available.
Foster Care Seminar Schedule
The DSWD hosts free seminars on foster care. These seminars are aimed at people who want to learn more about the process of being a foster parent, as well as those who are looking to become licensed caregivers or social workers.
To learn more, please visit the DSWD’s website for more information about their foster care seminars. The DSWD also hosts online workshops and webinars on a regular basis.
What are the Benefits of Foster Care?
The DSWD has outlined some of the benefits of becoming a foster parent. These include:
- You will be given training and support from the DSWD and other agencies, such as the Department of Health (DOH) and local government units (LGUs). This will help you learn how to care for children in need.
- Your foster child may qualify for financial assistance from the government, such as education allowances or stipends for their transition into adulthood.
- Qualified donees may be eligible for income tax exemption. This means that you will not have to pay taxes on the donations you donate.
- You will have the chance to become a mentor for your foster child and help him or her develop strong character traits. Children placed in foster care often have to face a lot of challenges. They may have experienced abuse or neglect in their biological families and are placed in foster care because of this. You can help them overcome these obstacles by providing love and support for them. You can also give them a home and provide for their needs, including food, clothing, education and medical attention.
- You can get the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life. What better way to feel like you’ve made an impact than by helping someone in need?
- Donors may also be granted tax deductions. These can be a huge benefit to you, as you can use these deductions to reduce the amount of taxes you pay.
What is the Importance of Fostering in the Philippines?
In the Philippines, many children have been orphaned or abandoned by their parents. Their biological families cannot care for them, so they end up in state institutions like orphanages and foster homes. These facilities provide these children with food, shelter, clothing and medical attention but do not offer the emotional support they need.
Through the DSWD, individuals or couples who are interested in fostering children can do so. They are asked to take care of the children in their homes and provide them love, affection and attention. When foster parent agrees to become one, they must meet certain requirements set by the government.
Video: DSWD FosterCare TV
In this video, we look at some of the requirements and benefits of becoming a DSWD foster parent.
If you are interested in becoming a DSWD foster parent, you can find out more by visiting the DSWD website at www.dswd.gov.ph. You can also call or visit one of their offices near you for more information on this program.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is post-legal adoption?
Counselling for the adoptive family and adoptee, when further information about the adoptee’s background or search for his/her biological parents is needed.
2. What is the process of providing a permanent family to a child?
Adoption is a legal process that provides permanent families for children who cannot live with their birth parents.
3. How long does a child have to be in custody before adoption?
Supervision by the adoptive parents for at least six months to allow time for the child to adjust before completing the adoption.
4. How much is the monthly foster care subsidy?
– Php 8,000.00 for healthy
– Php 10,000.00 for with special needs
5. How can the child avail of foster care subsidy?
Foster children are entitled to monthly subsidies from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), subject to existing rules and regulations. However, these subsidies may be waived if a foster parent is able to support his or her own child financially.
6. How long the foster child be provided with a monthly foster care subsidy?
The child may be provided with a monthly foster care subsidy as long as she is under the custody of the state. The subsidy will end when she is placed with a permanent family, either through adoption or being returned to her birth parents.
7. What benefits can be availed by foster parents and children in foster care?
A foster family will provide one-on-one care for children who have been abandoned, neglected or orphaned and those in need of special protection.
Foster care is a temporary placement where a child lives in another family’s home while his or her own parents receive medical, legal or psychological treatment.
For foster Parents:
- Foster parents can enrol the child they are raising as a dependent in their PhilHealth insurance plan.
- DSWD can also help build their capability through seminars, respite care and foster care support groups.
8. How often does the DSWD issue a foster family care license?
The DSWD shall issue a Foster Family Care License based on the agency’s Home Study Report, which examines applicants’ motivations for becoming caregivers as well as their capacities and potential for development. The license is renewable every three years unless revoked by the DSWD earlier.
As a country embattled by great poverty, the government has allowed qualified individuals to render support in the form of foster care. This allows children who have lost their families to be cared for by foster parents and gives them a chance at a better life. The government, through the DSWD, has also created policies that ensure that everyone involved in the foster care system is well-informed about their rights and responsibilities.
We hope that through this guide, you have learned more about the foster care system in the Philippines and how you can get involved. If you’re ready to take up this noble cause, visit the DSWD website or contact them directly for more information on how to be a foster parent!