The Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines (ACCAP) has urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to be transparent regarding its dealings with Gentle Hands Incorporated after imposing a halt order on the Quezon City orphanage over alleged living standards violations.
In a letter addressed to DSWD Secretary Rex Gatachalian, ACCAP emphasized the necessity of clarity as the case unfolds, emphasizing that the well-being of the children should be the foremost consideration in implementing any policies or protocols.
Responding to the concerns, the DSWD released a statement on Thursday affirming that the children have been well-cared for since their transfer to three alternative facilities. These facilities include Elsie Gaches Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Nayon ng Kabataan in Mandaluyong City, and the Reception and Study Center for Children in Quezon City.
DSWD Spokesperson Romel Lopez assured that the department’s social workers are diligently providing the children with utmost care, as corroborated by the staff of Gentle Hands. Trained to handle children who have experienced trauma, the social workers are being supported by child psychologists who are closely monitoring and providing necessary support to ensure the children’s physical and mental well-being.
In light of recent reports indicating the presence of armed officials during a retrieval operation, the Commission on Human Rights has advised the DSWD to minimize potential trauma for the children residing in orphanages.
Highlighting the importance of protecting children from additional harm or distress, the Commission emphasized the need for duty bearers and child rights advocates to ensure that investigative and intervention processes are conducted with the least possible risk of traumatizing the children involved.
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