The Child Advocates Association of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO1) aims to organize more potent groups which could encourage adoptive and foster parents in the Local Government Units (LGU) in the entire region.

Such initiative is to intensify the advocacy of ensuring the best welfare and interest of children needing alternative parental care.

The association headed by Atty. Marilyn Hidalgo plans to conduct a series of meetings in Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan this month convening all interested individuals and groups to become Child Advocates such as the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers (MSWDOs), Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWDAs), Licensed Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents, Day Care Workers, and others.

“The Association is thankful for the support extended by the Adoption Resource and Referral Section of the DSWD FO1 which led to the reactivation of the group that hibernated for almost two years”, said Atty. Hidalgo.

According to Adoption Resource and Referral Section Head Ms. Clarivel Banzuela, during the Alternative Parental Care Forum in Anda, Pangasinan recently held by the DSWD, the participants showed their willingness and interest with the formulation of the said association especially that they have cases of simulated birth certificates. The MSWDOs of Paoay and Bacarra, Ilocos Norte assured their support and participation to the said association.

Aside from that, the association will be conducting a Family Day Celebration to be held at the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) in September which will be participated in by the DSWD staff/children and the Advocates members/children. During the activity, rights of a child and roles of parents will be the major discussion.

The association is also planning to host a Children’s Congress in October designed for Adoptive Parents, Foster Parents, Adoptees, and Foster Children to have an opportunity to share and learn from one another’s adoption inspired experiences. A medical mission/gift giving activity will also be implemented in Sugpon, Ilocos Sur catering all the 98 beneficiaries of the Agsugpon Tayo project after the Camping in December.

With these future undertakings, the DSWD believes that more and more Child Advocates will join and support the association and eventually promote the welfare of all children in the region who have no families and parents.

By Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Administrative Assistant V, Listahanan/NHTS-PR