DSWD Adoption Program

The DSWD Adoption Program refers to the adoption services provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Philippines. The DSWD oversees the legal process of adoption in the country, ensuring that it is carried out following Philippine laws and regulations.

The DSWD Adoption Program aims to provide a legal framework for the adoption process, protect the rights of children, and ensure that prospective adoptive parents meet certain criteria for eligibility. The program also works to match children in need of adoption with suitable families who can provide them with a stable and loving home environment.

Who May be Adopted?

The eligibility of individuals for adoption is typically governed by laws and regulations that outline who may be adopted.

  • Any individual under 18 years old who has been officially identified as available for adoption through administrative or judicial processes.
  • A child born to one spouse but legally recognized as the child of the other spouse.
  • An offspring born out of wedlock is adopted by an eligible adopter to grant legitimacy to the child’s status.
  • A legally adult individual who, before the adoption, has consistently been regarded and treated as the adopter(s)’ own child since childhood.
  • A minor whose previous adoption has been annulled.
  • A minor whose biological or adoptive parent(s) have passed away, with the condition that no legal actions shall commence within six (6) months following the demise of the said parent(s).

Overview of the Adoption Process

A. Eligibility Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents

  1. Filipino Citizens: Any Filipino citizen who is of legal age and can act and assume all the rights and responsibilities of parental authority under the Civil Code may adopt, subject to certain qualifications and requirements.
  2. Age Requirement: The adopter must be at least 16 years older than the child being adopted unless the adopter is the parent by nature of the child to be adopted or the spouse of the child’s parent.
  3. Marital Status: Married couples may adopt jointly, provided they have been married for at least three years and have a stable family relationship. However, exceptions may apply, such as when one spouse is legally separated from the other or when one spouse is medically or psychologically incapable of having children.
  4. Single Individuals: Single individuals may also adopt, subject to the same requirements and procedures as married couples. However, a single individual cannot adopt a child of the opposite sex unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  5. Minimum Age: The adopter must be of legal age, which is 18 years old and above.
  6. Financial and Emotional Capacity: Prospective adopters must demonstrate financial capacity to support the needs of the child and must be emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for and raising a child.
  7. Character and Reputation: The adopter must have good moral character and reputation and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
  8. Residence: The adopter must be a resident of the Philippines for at least three continuous years before the filing of the adoption petition and must maintain such residency until the adoption decree is entered.
  9. Consent and Capacity: The adopter must have the legal capacity to adopt and must give consent freely and voluntarily. If the adopter is married, the consent of the spouse is required.

B. Documentary Requirements

  1. Letter of Intent to Adopt: A formal letter expressing the prospective adoptive parents’ intention to adopt a child.
  2. Birth Certificates: Copies of the birth certificates of the prospective adoptive parents.
  3. Marriage Certificate (if applicable): A copy of the marriage certificate for married couples applying for adoption.
  4. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR): A certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) stating that the prospective adoptive parents have not contracted any marriage.
  5. Valid IDs: Photocopies of valid government-issued identification cards for all prospective adoptive parents.
  6. Proof of Income: Documents demonstrating the financial stability and capacity of the prospective adoptive parents to support the child.
  7. Certificate of Employment: A certification from the employer indicating the prospective adoptive parents’ employment status and income.
  8. Clearances and Certificates: Clearances or certificates of good moral character, child abuse clearances, and police clearances for all prospective adoptive parents.
  9. Health Certificates: Medical certificates attesting to the physical and mental health of the prospective adoptive parents.
  10. Home Study Report: A comprehensive report conducted by a licensed social worker or accredited adoption professional, assessing the suitability of the prospective adoptive parents and their home environment.
  11. Character References: Letters of recommendation or character references from individuals who can attest to the character, suitability, and parenting capabilities of the prospective adoptive parents.
  12. Adoption Education and Counseling Certificates: Certificates of attendance for pre-adoption education and counseling sessions conducted by the DSWD or licensed adoption agencies.
  13. Consent Forms: Consent forms from biological parents or legal guardians, if applicable.
  14. Photographs: Recent photographs of the prospective adoptive parents and their immediate family members.
  15. Legal Documentation: Any additional legal documents required by the DSWD or the court handling the adoption proceedings.

C. Application and Screening Process

The DSWD facilitates the adoption process, which involves legal procedures, documentation, and assessments to ensure that both the adoptive parents and the adopted child are well-suited for each other. Here’s an overview of the application and screening process of adoption in the Philippines as facilitated by the DSWD:

Step 1: Orientation and Pre-Application Requirements

Prospective adoptive parents begin by attending orientation sessions conducted by the DSWD or licensed adoption agencies. These sessions provide information about the adoption process, requirements, and legal aspects of adoption in the Philippines. Pre-application requirements may include attending seminars on parenting, child development, and adoption-related topics.

Step 2: Submission of Application

After attending the orientation and completing the pre-application requirements, prospective adoptive parents submit their application forms to the DSWD or a licensed adoption agency. The application forms include personal information, background details, reasons for wanting to adopt, and preferences regarding the age, gender, and characteristics of the child they wish to adopt.

Step 3: Home Study and Assessment

The DSWD or licensed social workers conduct a comprehensive home study and assessment of the prospective adoptive parents. This process involves interviews, home visits, and evaluations to assess the suitability of the home environment, parenting skills, emotional readiness, and financial stability of the applicants.

Step 4: Background Checks and Clearances

Prospective adoptive parents undergo background checks, including criminal record checks and clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the local police. They may also be required to obtain clearances from the Barangay (local government unit) and undergo medical examinations to ensure they are physically and mentally fit to care for a child.

Step 5: Pre-Adoption Education and Counseling

Prospective adoptive parents participate in pre-adoption education and counseling sessions facilitated by the DSWD or licensed adoption agencies. These sessions cover topics such as child development, attachment, trauma-informed care, legal aspects of adoption, and parenting techniques.

Step 6: Matching Process

Once the screening and assessment process is complete and the prospective adoptive parents are deemed eligible, the DSWD or licensed adoption agencies work to match them with a child whose needs, background, and characteristics align with the family’s preferences and capabilities.

Step 7: Placement and Supervision

After a child is placed with the adoptive family, the DSWD or licensed social workers conduct post-placement supervision visits to monitor the child’s adjustment, provide support and guidance to the adoptive family, and address any issues or concerns that arise during the transition period.

Step 8: Legal Finalization

The adoption is finalized through a legal process in court, where a judge issues a final decree of adoption, legally establishing the parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the child.


Support Services Offered by DSWD

A. Counseling and Preparation for Prospective Adoptive Parents

The DSWD provides counseling and support services to both adoptive parents and adopted children to help them adjust to their new family dynamics and address any challenges that may arise during the adoption process.

B. Post-Adoption Support and Services

Adoption is a lifelong process, and many adoption agencies and organizations offer post-adoption services to support adoptive families and adopted individuals. These services may include counseling, support groups, educational resources, and assistance with accessing adoption-related records and information.

C. Education and Training Programs

Prospective adoptive parents may be required to complete training sessions or educational programs covering topics such as attachment, child development, trauma-informed care, transracial adoption, and parenting techniques.

Video: Gov’t Announces Faster Legal Adoption Process in PH

This video is a news update about the legal adoption process in the country. Here, it was tackled that the lengthy adoption process can now be made faster while still ensuring that to prioritize the thorough assessment of prospective adoptive parents and the best interests of the children involved in the adoption process. One of the key points in the video is that the National Authority for Child Cares announced that the legal adoption process can now be completed within a timeframe of 6 to 9 months.