DSWD Foster Care Program

The DSWD Foster Care Program aims to provide temporary care and support to children who are separated from their families due to various reasons such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

The program seeks to place these children in nurturing and stable environments while efforts are made to reunite them with their biological families or find them permanent placements through adoption or guardianship.

Adoption Vs Foster Care

Adoption and foster care are both important aspects of child welfare and alternative care arrangements, but they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics:

1. Purpose

Adoption: Adoption is a legal process that establishes a permanent and legally binding relationship between a child and adoptive parents who assume all the responsibilities and rights of parenthood. The goal of adoption is to provide a stable and permanent family for children who cannot be reunited with their biological families.

Foster Care: Foster care, on the other hand, is a temporary arrangement that provides care and support to children who are unable to live with their biological families due to various reasons such as abuse, neglect, or parental incapacity. The primary goal of foster care is to ensure the safety and well-being of children while efforts are made to address family issues and facilitate reunification whenever possible.

2. Legal Status

Adoption: Adoption results in a permanent change in legal status, granting adoptive parents full parental rights and responsibilities, including inheritance, custody, and decision-making authority.

Foster Care: Foster care is a temporary arrangement that does not result in a permanent change in legal status. Children in foster care remain under the legal custody of the state or child welfare agency, and biological parents retain certain legal rights and responsibilities.

3. Duration

Adoption: Adoption is a lifelong commitment, and once finalized, the adoptive relationship is permanent and enduring.

Foster Care: Foster care is typically intended to be temporary, to provide children with a safe and stable environment until they can be reunified with their biological families or placed in a permanent adoptive or guardianship arrangement.

4. Support and Services

Adoption: Adoptive families may receive various types of support services, including counseling, financial assistance, and post-adoption services to help with the transition and adjustment process.

Foster Care: Foster families receive support services from child welfare agencies, including training, financial assistance, and case management support to meet the needs of children in their care.

5. Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Adoption: Adoptive parents assume all parental rights and responsibilities, including providing for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs, as well as making decisions about their upbringing.

Foster Care: Foster parents have the responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children in their care, but they do not have the same level of legal authority as adoptive parents.

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Criteria for Becoming a Foster Parent

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Philippines sets specific criteria for individuals or families interested in becoming foster parents. These criteria are designed to ensure that foster parents are capable of providing a safe, nurturing, and stable environment for children in need.

1. Filipino citizens

  • Must meet the legal age requirement;
  • Must have an age difference of at least sixteen (16) years from the Foster Child, unless the applicant is a relative of the Foster Child;
  • Must demonstrate genuine interest, ability, and dedication to parenting the Foster Child, and capable of creating a familial environment for them;
  • Must maintain a positive and harmonious relationship with all family members residing in the household;
  • Must exhibit good moral character;
  • Must possess physical and mental wellness, as well as emotional maturity;
  • Must have adequate resources to provide for the family’s necessities;
  • Must be open to training or guidance to enhance or refine knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to child care.

2. To be eligible as a Foster Parent, a non-citizen must:

  • hold legal documentation
  • meet all the aforementioned qualifications
  • have lived continuously in the Philippines for a minimum of twelve (12) months upon application
  • commit to maintaining residency until the conclusion of the placement by the DSWD or the expiration of the Foster Family Care License.

Who May be Placed Under Foster Care?

Children who may be placed under foster care include those who are:

a). A child who has been abandoned, relinquished, neglected, deemed dependent, or orphaned;

b). A child who has experienced sexual, physical, or other forms of abuse or exploitation;

c). A child with specific needs requiring special attention;

d). A child whose family members are temporarily or permanently unable or unwilling to offer adequate care;

e). A child awaiting placement for adoption and requiring preparation for family life, including a child who has been matched for adoption but remains in institutional care;

f). A child in need of long-term care and strong family bonds but ineligible for domestic adoption placement;

g). A child whose adoption process has been discontinued;

h). A child facing challenging social circumstances, such as being a street child, involved in armed conflict, or a victim of child labor or trafficking;

i). A child who has committed a minor offense but has been released on recognizance, under custody supervision, or had their case dismissed;

j). A child identified as requiring special protection as determined by a Social Worker, an Agency, or the DSWD.

Note: It is essential to note that in cases (b), (c), (f), (h), (i), and (j), the child must lack a family capable and willing to care for them.

Documentary Requirements for Foster Care Parents

  • Application Forms: Prospective foster parents need to complete and submit application forms provided by the DSWD or the local social welfare office.
  • Identification Documents: Copies of valid identification documents, such as passports, driver’s licenses, or government-issued IDs, for all adult members of the household are typically required.
  • Proof of Residence: Documents verifying the foster family’s current address, such as utility bills or rental agreements, are necessary to establish residency.
  • Marriage Certificate or Relationship Documentation: If the applicants are married or in a domestic partnership, they may need to provide a marriage certificate or other proof of the relationship.
  • Background Checks: Authorization forms allowing the DSWD to conduct background checks, including criminal history checks and child abuse registry checks, may be required.
  • Financial Documentation: Proof of financial stability, such as recent tax returns, pay stubs, or bank statements, may be necessary to ensure the foster family can support a child.
  • Health and Medical Records: Applicants may need to provide health and medical records, including documentation of recent physical examinations and vaccinations, to ensure they are in good health.
  • Character References: Personal and professional references who can attest to the character, suitability, and ability of the applicants to care for a foster child may be required.
  • Training Certificates: Certificates or documentation of completion for any required pre-service training or education programs related to foster care are typically needed.
  • Home Study Report: A comprehensive home study report conducted by a social worker or licensing agent is often required. The report assesses the suitability of the home environment and the readiness of the applicants to provide foster care.
  • Legal Documentation: Any other legal documentation required by the DSWD or local social welfare office, such as proof of citizenship or residency, may also be necessary.
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Steps to Apply for the DSWD Foster Care Program

Applying for the DSWD Foster Care Program involves several steps to ensure that prospective foster parents meet the requirements and qualifications.

Step 1: Contact the DSWD

Reach out to the nearest DSWD office or local government unit (LGU) to inquire about the foster care program and express your interest in becoming a foster parent.

Step 2: Attend Information Sessions

Participate in information sessions or orientations conducted by the DSWD or partner agencies. These sessions provide an overview of the foster care program, eligibility requirements, and responsibilities of foster parents.

Step 3: Complete Application Forms

Obtain and complete the necessary application forms provided by the DSWD or LGU. Ensure that all required information is accurately filled out and submitted according to the instructions provided.

Step 4: Undergo Screening Process

Prepare to undergo a comprehensive screening process, which may include background checks, home visits, interviews, and assessments conducted by social workers or designated personnel.

Step 5: Attend Training Programs

Participate in pre-service training programs designed to equip prospective foster parents with the knowledge, skills, and understanding necessary for providing foster care. Topics covered may include child development, trauma-informed care, positive discipline, and legal aspects of foster care.

Step 6: Complete Required Documentation

Gather and submit all required documentation, including identification documents, proof of residence, marital status, income, health records, and references as specified by the DSWD or LGU.

Step 7: Undergo Home Study

Prepare for a home study conducted by social workers or licensing officers. The home study involves an assessment of your home environment, living conditions, family dynamics, and readiness to provide foster care.

Step 8: Attend Interviews

Participate in interviews with social workers or panel members to discuss your motivation for fostering, parenting approach, support network, and commitment to the well-being of foster children.

Step 9: Receive Approval and Certification

Upon successful completion of the screening process, training, and home study, await approval from the DSWD or LGU. Once approved, you will receive certification as a licensed foster parent.

Step 10: Receive Placement

Once certified, you may be matched with a foster child whose needs and circumstances align with your capabilities and preferences. The DSWD or LGU will facilitate the placement process and provide support throughout the foster care journey.

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Video: DSWD Foster Care TV


This video summarizes the important takeaways you must know about the DSWD Foster Care Program. If you wish to become a foster parent, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the requirements, procedures, and responsibilities involved in the DSWD Foster Care Program, which are discussed in the video as well.

You may also consider attending informational sessions, workshops, or orientations provided by the DSWD or local social welfare offices to gain a deeper understanding of the foster care system and the needs of foster children.