Aruga at Kalinga sa mga Bata sa Barangay (Aruga)
A strategy to promote the implementation of foster care service in a Barangay for the provision of planned substitute parental care to abandoned, neglected and children in need of temporary care.
LGUs and DSWD unites and mobilizes Foster Parents to provide temporary shelter for abandoned, neglected and surrendered children.
The project started in 2004, aimed at establishing a pool of foster parents in the barangay. These foster parents takes the responsibility of providing care and temporary shelter to abandoned, neglected or surrendered children. It was pilot tested in the City of Muntinlupa.
On its fifth year of implementation, the strategy was able to serve twenty-nine (29) foster children from the Reception and Study Center of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). These children were all considered ‘hard to place” for adoption considering their ages are from two (2) year old to seven-year-old, and with special needs such as global developmental delay, mild retardation, recurrent lung ailments and scabies.
Foster Care is considered as a positive alternative substitute family care for a child when his/ her biological family cannot care for him/her. Compared to institutionalization, which according to child development specialists has detrimental effects on children such as difficulty forming and maintaining relatioships, the foster care arrangement provides opportunity for the child to grow physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
One of those who responded to the call of fostering and opened their home to these children, was Mrs. Emerlita A. Domingo, who motivated to become a foster mother after attending a foster care forum conducted by the Adoption Resource and Referral Unit of DSWD-NCR at Barangay Putatan Muntinlupa. She has units in Education, specializing in Early Childhood Care and Development, an accredited Child Development Worker of Muntinlupa.
She loves children, actually, she has two children of her own, Epraim and Jeremiah 17, who both speaks highly of their mother. She is considered as patient and loving mother despite her busy schedule as a full time day care mother and managing her own sari-sari store during her spare time.
The first two children whom Emerlita fostered for more than a year have been placed out for Intercountry Adoption (ICAB), with a Belgian and Australian family respectively. After that she fostered a six year old boy whose name is Charles. She attends to his needs, particularly on the medical aspect because the child suffers from a kidney disorder. Her two children treat Charles as their real brother. They are his “big brother” (kuya) and “big sister” (ate). With them, Charles now experiences “family life” which he never had. It will help him with his transition in his placement with his permanent adoptive family in the future. The like of Charles and the other kids placed in foster homes from institutions turned out to be healthier, happier and well- adjusted children.
More LGU’s should introduce a foster care program in their barangays. Like Emerlita, the possibilities and potential benefits can be manifold.