What is DSWD’s “Aruga at Kalinga” Program?

Based on a study done by the Social Technology Bureau (STB) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) — in 2007, the child population was at 38.2 million or 43.3% of the country’s total population. Of these, a significant number were in need of special protection due to various situations. Among these are working children, trafficked children, children living in the streets, child victims of abuse, and children in conflict with the law.

Many of these children lack parental care; some have no parents or close relatives to take care of them. For this reason, the DSWD, through the STB, came up with a program: “Aruga at Kalinga sa Mga Bata sa Barangay,” or simply, “Aruga at Kalinga.

DSWD Aruga at Kalinga Program
Image Credit: Department of Social Welfare and Development / Facebook

What is “Aruga at Kalinga”?

Basically, “Aruga at Kalinga” is a strategy to promote the implementation of foster care service in a Barangay, in order to provide planned substitute parental care to abandoned, neglected, and children who are in need of temporary care.

What is “foster care”? This is considered as a good alternative substitute family care for children, in cases where their biological families cannot care for them. Foster care is considered to be better than “institutionalization,” which — according to child development specialists — has negative effects on children, such as difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships. On the other hand, a foster care arrangement enables children to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Here are just some of the legal bases for “Aruga at Kalinga:”

  • 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which upholds civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of the child;
  • Presidential Decree No. 603, entitled, “Children and Youth Welfare Code;”
  • 1987 Philippine Constitution, which provides for the protection and promotion of the child’s physical, intellectual, social, moral, and spiritual well-being;
  • 1992 Republic Act No. 7610, which is “An Act Providing Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination;” and
  • Republic Act No. 10165, entitled, “Foster Care Act of 2012.”

Objectives of the Program

Generally, the “Aruga at Kalinga” program aims to establish a pool of foster parents in a Barangay. These foster parents can provide a planned and substitute foster care to abandoned, neglected, and children in need of temporary parental care.

Specifically, the program seeks to achieve the following:

  • Promote foster care as the best substitute parental care arrangement for children in need of temporary care;
  • Maintain a pool of licensed foster parents; and
  • Involve Local Government Units (LGUs) in implementing foster family care for children in the Barangay.

Target Beneficiaries

The target beneficiaries of “Aruga at Kalinga” are children 0-18 years old who have been referred and/or rescued from the community, as well as children who are wards of residential care facilities needing temporary care.

These children may be categorized as follows:

  • Children who have been neglected, abandoned, and orphaned;
  • Children whose parents are in crisis center and are temporarily unable to provide adequate care; and
  • Children in need of special care and protection.

Components of the Program

The “Aruga at Kalinga” program is comprised of the following components:

  • Development, monitoring, and maintenance of foster families;
  • Capability building;
  • Organization of a pool of foster parents; and
  • Supportive services.

Notably, the benefits of foster care under the program include:

  • Provision of necessary love and care to the foster child; and
  • The foster child receives care from a licensed foster parent until the time he/she returns to his biological family/relatives, or eventually gets adopted.

Foster Parents: Qualifications and Process

Of course, the success of the program depends on the selection of capable foster parents. Let’s take a look at the qualifications, requirements, and process involved in becoming a foster parent.


To qualify to be a foster parent, a person must:

  • Be between 25 and 60 years old;
  • Legally married, single, or widowed;
  • Mentally and physically fit to care for a child;
  • Have a healthy and harmonious relationships with other family members;
  • Have good moral character and emotional maturity;
  • Have sufficient resources to provide for the family’s needs;
  • Be willing to be trained for the purpose of enhancing his/her skills in caring for children; and
  • Be involved or participates in socio-civic activities in the community (optional).

Interestingly, foreigners residing in the Philippines may also apply to be foster parents, provided that they meet the following additional criteria:

  • Must be legally documented; and
  • Must have resided in the Philippines for at least 12 continuous months at the time of application.


To become a foster parent, an applicant needs to submit the following documents:

  • Birth Certificate;
  • Marriage Contract (if married);
  • Medical Certificate;
  • ITR or Certificate of Employment;
  • NBI or Police Clearance;
  • Barangay Clearance stating applicant’s good moral character and length of residence in the community;
  • Recent photo, including family members (if any); and
  • Other documents that may be required by the DSWD, LGU, or child placing agency.


Once all the necessary documents have been gathered, the applicant shall submit these to the nearest DSWD Field Office or to the local City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

The application may also be submitted to any accredited child placing agencies, including:

  • CRIBS Foundation Inc.;
  • Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF) Inc.;
  • NORFIL Foundation Inc.;
  • Onesimo Bulilit Foundation;
  • Operation Compassion Philippines; and
  • Parenting Foundation.

If the applicant’s capability to foster seems favorable, the LGU social worker shall prepare a Home Study Report (HSR) and forward the application to the DSWD Field Office for approval.

Foster Family Care License

If the application is approved, the LGU social worker shall inform the applicant and facilitate the signing of the Foster Family Care License (FFCL) by the applicants. A copy of the FFCL will be given to the DSWD Field Office for the Regional Director’s approval.

Notably, the FFCL shall be valid for three (3) years. After this period, the LGU social worker shall re-assess the family for the renewal of the license.

Matching Conference

As the term implies, the matching conference involves the pairing of a child with the licensed foster parent(s). The pairing is done based on the particular child’s needs, and the capacity of the foster parent(s) to meet those needs, among other factors.

Foster Placement Authority

Once a match is made, a Foster Placement Authority (FPA) shall be signed by the foster parent(s) and LGU social worker. This will be endorsed to the DSWD Field Office for the Field Office Director’s approval. Once the FPA is approved, the child shall be placed with the foster parent(s).

Pilot Areas

The pilot implementation of “Aruga at Kalinga” began in 2004, in Muntinlupa City. Specifically, the project was carried out in Barangay Bayanan and Barangay Putatan, targeting abandoned, neglected, and other children who needed special protection.

During its fifth year of implementation, the project was able to serve 29 foster children from the Reception and Study Center of the DSWD. These children were considered “hard to place” for adoption, because of their age (between 2-7 years old). These also included children with recurrent lung ailments, scabies, mild retardation, global development delay, and other special needs.

Other notable results of the pilot implementation include:

  • A pool of foster families was developed;
  • Residential care facilities were decongested;
  • The rights of children to a wholesome family life atmosphere were enjoyed by the beneficiaries;
  • The parenting skills of foster parents were enhanced; and
  • Foster care was promoted as the best substitute parental arrangement for children who need temporary care.

Notably, in 2011, Muntinlupa City passed Ordinance No. 11-13, entitled, “Aruga at Sagip Pamilya Para sa Bata sa Muntinlupa,” appropriating funds of P720,000.00 per annum.

By 2016, there were around 96 LGUs/NGOs with resolutions or memorandums of agreement (MOAs) to replicate the project.

Video: Guide to Giving or Surrendering Children to DSWD

Did you know that there is a proper process for voluntarily giving or surrendering a child to the DSWD or to a private organization? Check out this video made by the Inter-Country Adoption Board and the Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation. This video aims to guide families in crises, social workers, medical practitioners, and other workers on protecting the rights of children and their families.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some commonly asked questions about the program:

1. What is “Aruga at Kalinga”?

“Aruga at Kalinga sa Mga Bata sa Barangay” (Aruga at Kalinga) is a strategy to promote the implementation of foster care service in a Barangay, in order to provide planned substitute parental care to abandoned, neglected, and children in need of temporary care.

2. What are its objectives?

“Aruga at Kalinga” generally seeks to establish a pool of foster parents in a Barangay — foster parents who can provide care to abandoned, neglected, and children who need temporary care.

3. Who are the target beneficiaries?

The target beneficiaries are children 0-18 years old who have been referred and/or rescued from the community, along with children who are wards of residential care facilities needing temporary care.

4. What are its components?

The components of the program include: (a) development, monitoring, and maintenance of foster families; (b) capability building; (c) organization of a pool of foster parents; and (d) supportive services.

5. How can I learn more about it?

You can learn more about “Aruga at Kalinga” by going to the nearest DSWD Office in your area.

Contact Information: Social Technology Bureau

If you are based in the National Capital Region (NCR), and you have questions about the program — you can get in touch with the Social Technology Bureau (STB), which is located at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City. Its office hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Address: Social Technology Bureau, 3rd Floor, Matapat Building, Department of Social Welfare and Development – Central Office, IBP Road, Constitution Hills, Batasan Complex, Quezon City
Telephone: +632 8951 7124 / 8951 2802 / 8931 8144
Email: soctech@dswd.gov.ph
Website: https://stb.dswd.gov.ph/

Google Map:

NOTE: If you are based outside the NCR, you can contact the Regional Social Technology Unit (STU) in your province or region. Please head to the STU directory for their latest contact details.

Final Thoughts

Many of us have encountered children who are working in the streets, children who have been abandoned, and children who don’t have parents or relatives to care for them. Through the “Aruga at Kalinga” program of DSWD, these children can receive the temporary care that they need, especially at such a young age.

Aside from “Aruga at Kalinga,” DSWD has many other programs for Filipino children and youth. One of these is the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP). Check out this article to learn more about it!