108 child offenders released from DSWD centers
Quezon City (19 October) -- A total of 108 children in conflict with the law (CICL) were initially released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said the children come from the different Regional Rehabilitation Centers for Youth (RRCYs) around the country and from the National Training School for Boys (NTSB) in Tanay, Rizal. RRCYs and NTSB are DSWD-managed residential institutions that provide care and rehabilitation to male children in conflict with the law who are nine to 17 years old.
The children were released to either their parents, their immediate relatives, or to a responsible member of the community, for custody. Considered responsible members of the community who can take custody of released CICLs are barangay captains, members of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children and Local Council for the Protection of Children, non-government organizations, and religious organizations with centers for children.
Social workers of local government units are providing after-care services to the released CICLs. These include vocational training, counseling, educational assistance, legal assistance, psychological and psychiatric assessment. Their parents are also being given livelihood assistance as necessary.
Secretary Cabral said social workers will continue to monitor the children's status to ensure that they are being reintegrated into society properly and are being provided with the services necessary to prevent their going back to activities detrimental to them and to the community.
She said that another 502 children from the RRCYs and NTSB are expected to be released soon. Social workers are waiting for court orders and are assessing and preparing the children's families and prospective foster parents to assume custody of the children.
Secretary Cabral explained that the release of the CICLs is provided for by the transitory provisions of RA 9344 and implemented through guidelines issued by the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council.
The guidelines provide for the immediate release from detention of children who were 15 years and below at the time of the alleged commission of the offense. Children above 15 but below 18 years at the time of alleged commission of the offense who have been proved to have no discernment of the criminality of their acts are also to be released from detention according to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.
However, these children must be provided with rehabilitation and social preparation to ensure that they do not commit offenses that will put them in conflict with the law again. (DSWD-Social Marketing Service) [top]