GMA News Online
News
»
Nation

DSWD pushes foster care for elderly, disabled with new program

May 20, 2009 3:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — The elderly and the disabled will be the primary beneficiaries of a new foster home program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral appealed to the public to take an active role in the Foster Home Program for Older Persons (OPs) and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

“The best service to give to older persons and persons with disabilities is to provide them with a caring family," Cabral said in an article on the DSWD website (www.dswd.gov.ph).

She said the Foster Home Program is the provision of a planned temporary substitute family care for OPs and PWDs who are abandoned, neglected, and unattached.

It is now being pilot-tested in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) and Soccscargen (Region 12).

Local governments of Ivana and Sabtang in Batanes, and Solana in Cagayan have adopted the program.

“At present, 12 older persons who are homeless and abandoned are being catered by their respective foster families. Of these, five are in Ivana and seven in Sabtang," the DSWD said.

Cabral said the Foster Home Program will benefit PWDs who are 18 years old and above and are ambulatory, and 60 years old and above for the older persons.

“These are individuals who are physically and mentally healthy, potentially capable of accepting other families and can benefit from family and community life who for some reasons cannot return to their biological families or who have no families at all," she said.

Also, the program will provide the OPs and PWDs with an opportunity to remain living in the community where they can remain engaged in as many social, economic and community activities as possible.

“There are many ways to help the older persons or those with disabilities, but nothing is more direct than opening your heart and your home to them," Cabral said.

She added extending a hand to disadvantaged older persons and persons with disabilities can be both challenging and rewarding.

“Foster families receive a monthly subsidy of P1,000 during the stay of older persons or persons with disabilities in their home which is meant as an incentive and not as a means to augment their income but rather to further encourage them to continue caring for them.

However, there are also benevolent individuals who do volunteer work without subsidy incentive," she said.

The DSWD together with the local government units, non-government units, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue implement the Foster Home Program.

Those who are interested to become a foster family or want more information on fostering may visit the social welfare office nearest their area. - GMANews.TV