DSWD boosts program for street kids, families
Kristine B. Quintas/ATO (The Freeman) - February 17, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least 600 street children and 200 families are currently living in the streets and sidewalks of Cebu City, based on the recent profiling of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

 Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) Chief Ester Concha said some of the children have homes, but with dysfunctional and poor families.

 “These children roam around the city streets because it is where they can find friends and foods,” she said, adding that some of the street kids opt to sleep on streets after taking a long and tiring walk looking for scraps to sell, instead of going home.

 According to DSWD, the phenomenon of children living and working in the streets was first felt in the 1970s, persisted through the 1980s and has grown to alarming proportions by mid 1990s until now.

 With the issue of street dwelling, DSWD-7 adapted in September last year the Comprehensive Program for Children and Families at Risk on the Streets, which was piloted by the National Capital Region in 2011. It is now being expanded in the Regions 3, 4-A, 5, 6, 7 and 11.

 In Central Visayas, Cebu City is the pilot area for the program being the “prime city and has many cases of street children and families among other areas in the region.”

 At least P3.6 million has been allocated for the program in Cebu City and DSWD has turned over P2.8 million to DSWS, as first tranche of the program.

 Grace Yana, DSWD-7 Social Worker Focal on Children, said the program aims to reduce the vulnerability of children and families at risk on the streets by responding to their immediate needs and engaging them in productive, cultural and developmental activities in a safe environment.

 Yana explained that the program is more comprehensive because there is a convergence of resources and active participation from different stakeholders.

 Also, it involves the development of income-generating opportunities and skills training for families to prevent them from working on the streets while children will undergo developmental activities that will stimulate their physical, psychological and moral development.

 DSWS has identified six centers in the city –Tinago, Mambaling, Sawang Calero, Punta Princesa gymnasiums and mobile school on wheels at Fuenta Osmeña, where the seminars and activities will be held.

 On the other hand, DSWD is urging couples and even single individuals longing for children, to avail of the agency’s legal adoption program.

 “There is no difference between an adoptive parent and a biological parent, both give love to their children,” said DSWD-7 regional director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre. — (FREEMAN)

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