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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

DSWD shuts down QC orphanage, takes custody of 149 children

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Monday announced it will take custody of the 149 children from a private orphanage in Quezon City, which was temporarily shut down due to protocol violations.

DSWD Secretary Rexlon “Rex” T. Gatchalian disclosed they proceeded with the transfer to their care facilities due to the “eminent danger” faced by the said orphans from Gentle Hands Inc. (GHI).

“We have to make sure that children are protected, we will not wait for them to be hurt before we move,” Gatchalian said in a press briefing in Malacañang last Monday.

DSWD said the affected orphans will be transferred to the following facilities: Elsie Gaches Village in Alabang, Nayong Kabataan in Mandaluyong, and Reception and Study Center For Children in Quezon City. 

Gatchlian issued a cease-desist-order (CDO) against GHI after his inspection of the orphanage last Saturday revealed it has several deficiencies and violations.

Among the infractions of GHI include obstructed fire exits, absence of social workers during the spot monitoring last Saturday. 

The GHI facility was also found littered with trash during inspection and overcrowded since it only has a maximum capacity of 85 children, but was handling 149 individuals. 

GHI was given 20 days by DSWD to address the said deficiencies. 

Gatchalian said he ordered the re-auditing of centers, residential care facilities, and Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWDAs), which were accredited or licensed by DSWD, to ensure the well-being of their clientele. 

“When I took the helm of the department, we had to evaluate every single program, not just our social protection program. We have to evaluate our development programs. We have to evaluate everything, because I am new,” he said.  

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