QUEZON CITY (DWDD) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to provide psychosocial services to children who have been exposed to traumatic events to help them cope with the emotional impact of the experience and eventually restore their overall sense of well-being.
“The DSWD has center-based and community-based programs and services for children who have been victims of abuse or exposed to trauma, in general. Depending on the assessment of social workers, we can also provide other available specialized services in our centers,” said DSWD Protective Services Bureau (PSB) Psychologist Adel A. Guerrero.
The center-based programs and services of the Department are those that provide alternative forms of family care by providing 24-hour residential care facilities on a temporary basis for individuals, including children, whose needs cannot be met by their families and relatives for a specified period.
Community-based programs and services, on the other hand, are preventive, rehabilitative, developmental programs and initiatives that mobilize the family and community in responding to issues of children and other sectors who are in need or at risk.
Under center-based programs, the DSWD provides treatment and rehabilitation services to facilitate restoration, healing and recovery of children through the provision of emergency shelter and basic needs, psychosocial counseling, and other protective services. The Department also provides social services and interventions to restore and develop the social functioning of the children from the time they are admitted to the time of discharge to prepare them for family reunification and community reintegration.
Trauma-informed care framework
“In general, mayroong nakalatag na ‘existing system’ ang kagawaran na tinatawag nating trauma-informed care. Ito ay mindset organizational perspective kung paanong tinitignan at tinatrato ng aming mga social workers itong mga survivors ng trauma para hindi sila ma-retraumatized (In general, the Department has a laid out a system, which we call trauma-informed care. This is a mindset organizational perspective on how our social workers view and treat the survivors of trauma so they will not be re-traumatized),” Guererro said.
Trauma-informed care is a framework wherein service providers are given a strong understanding of the impact of trauma on the lives of survivors as well as the path to their healing and recovery. The program was implemented by DSWD in 2013 together with its partner child-protection organizations, which include International Justice Mission, Child Protection Network, and Consuelo Foundation.
“The program does not necessarily look at a specific group, but the general population including children. As long as the child is a survivor of trauma, whether he/she experienced physical or sexual abuse, or is a victim of human trafficking, they will be provided with appropriate intervention based on assessed needs,” Ms. Guererro said.
Types of intervention
“In general, children are resilient. But when they are exposed to traumatic events, they are at a greater risk of suffering from trauma, their developmental level might be affected, especially those without adequate protection or support,” explained Guererro.
The psychologist said that the type of interventions to be provided depend on the impact of trauma to children. Social workers, who are also usually the case managers, will conduct an assessment and will integrate the recommendations of the multidisciplinary team, based on what they deem is/are the most appropriate intervention/s to a child.
“In our centers, we have play therapy, para doon sa ‘di masalita na bata at yung mahirap tanungin ng diretso. Yung iba naman, especially the teens, na di kumportable makipag-usap one-on-one, sila ay dumadaan sa arts and expressive therapy, as well as dance and movement therapies. Right now, we have Capoeira Angola, an Afro-Brazilian art form na gumagamit ng music, dance and movements from the Afro-Brazilian tradition (In our centers, we have play therapy for children who could not speak. For teenagers, who are usually not comfortable in one-on-one conversations, we provide arts and expressive therapy, as well as dance and movement therapies. Right now, we have Capoeira Angola, an Afro-Brazilian art form that uses music, dance and movements from the Afro-Brazilian tradition); then for the CICL there is also the Resiliency Program or the RePro, in partnership with the Center for Familiy Ministries of the Ateneo University.” Guererro said.
According to DSWD PSB Director Alicia S. Bonoan, apart from psychosocial services, the Department provides other forms of assistance to individuals and families in crisis situations.
“Meron pong mga assistance na binibigay ang DSWD through our Crisis Intervention Unit katulad ng medical, education, transportation, and burial assistance. Mayroon din tayong sustainable livelihood program (There are assistance that we provide in DSWD through our Crisis Intervention Unit, such as medical, education, transportation, and burial assistance. We also have sustainable livelihood program),” Dir. Bonoan said.
“We are always here to help, but we want to reiterate that the first responder is always the local government unit. We have counterparts in social welfare development offices in cities and municipalities. We provide services in partnership with the LGUs. Kung ano ang kakulangan, mag-augment tayo sa pamamagitan ng ating mga regional offices (We augment whatever it is that still needs to be provided through our regional offices),” said the Director. SMS DSWD / MCAG