Featured at Cordillera Today, last August 5, 2007

I featured the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act a few months ago. I am glad to note that I still receive queries about this law and it is still the most frequently visited post in the online edition of this column. The following are Q n As from the website of DSWD. We hope that this will help increase awareness of our readers on the law.

Q. What is RA 8972 or the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act?

A. Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 is an Act that provides for benefits and privileges to solo parents and their children, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes. The Act aims to develop a comprehensive package of social development and welfare services to solo parents and their children to be carried out by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (lead agency), various government agencies and other related NGOs.

Q. When did the law take effect?

A. The law was signed into law on November 7,2000 and took effect on November 28, 2000. Its implementing rules and regulations was approved on April 2002.

Q. Have the LGUs been informed of the law?

A. All the concerned LGUs through their local social workers were oriented on the law last 2002.

Q. Who are considered Solo Parent ?

A. Parent left alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to (1) death of spouse, (2) physical and mental incapacity of spouse as certified by public medical practitioner, (3) imprisonment of the spouse for at least one year, (4) legal or de facto separation from spouse for at least one year, (5) annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or church, (6) abandonment of spouse for at least one year, (7) a woman who gives birth a result of rape and crimes against chastity, provided the woman keeps and raises her child, (8) unmarried mother or father who has preferred to keep the child instead of others caring for him/her, (9) any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child provided he/she is a duly licensed foster parent of DSWD, or duly appointed legal guardian by the court through adoption or legal guardianship, and (10) any family member who assumes the responsibility as head of family as a result of death, abandonment, prolong absence or disappearance of parents/solo parent for at least one year.

Q. Are OFWs considered Solo Parents ? Can they avail of the benefits of the law ?

A. In section 3 of RA 8972 the law did not consider OFW as one of the categories of solo parents since the other spouse still exercise parental duties over his/her family. However, if the other parent is abroad and has lost contact with his/her family for a year or more, the other parent can be considered a solo parent due to disappearance or prolonged absence.

Q. What is the Package of Services of the Comprehensive Program

A. The comprehensive package of programs/services for solo parents includes livelihood, self-employment and skills development, employment-related benefits, psychosocial, educational, health and housing services.