“THERE’S joy and wonder everywhere when you see the world through the eyes of a child.”
This adage from Katrina Mayer has far reaching effects when it comes to the healing, recovery and rehabilitation of Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) residents at the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) Region VI situated in Nueva Valencia town in Guimaras Province, a center managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VI.
The RRCY has been recently adjudged as Western Visayas Regional Best Center under the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) of DSWD. It now vies to be the Best Center in the national level.
“What sets us apart from other centers is our conscious and consistent effort to ensure Child Participation in our policy-making. We believe that if we only know how to listen to the children and involve them in the process, they will feel that they are part of the process and will feel that they belong in our small community and valued,” said Eloisa Tillado, center head.
The center, with a Level III Accreditation as a Center of Excellence, has been a consistent pick as Best Center in the Region. In 2017, it placed second in the national PRAISE awards, and Best Center Award in 2018 PRAISE Group Award.
The RRCY takes pride in showcasing the Child-Led Policy Formulation, a mechanism that institutionalizes the Enhanced Child Participation practices in Policy Formulation in managing the residential facility’s operations and response.
Prior its implementation, RRCY VI was plagued with problems like low commitment to rehabilitation effort by residents, rampant behavioral problems, aggression issues and disobedience and interpersonal conflict among residents.
With this, the Child Policy Formulation was initiated with the objective of improving relationship among the residents as well as residents to the staff; minimize aggression, disobedience and behavioral problems, and foster better cooperation in the achievement of the rehabilitation plan.
Among the policies developed with the participation and involvement of the CICL residents are Standardizing Restorative Intervention in Dealing with Behavior; Development of Visitation Policy; Review & Child-led Direction in Formulating Responsive Policies to Incidents; Decorum Regulation for Residents; Using Child Participation as a Means for Child Protection includes: Membership to the Child Protection Committee; and Involvement in Peer-to-peer Mediation & Grievance Activities.
According to Tillado, “Child participation in policy formulation addressed some of the longstanding concerns in the day-to-day operation of RRCY VI which other centers might be struggling with today. It has established a clear identification of the level of severity for each misdemeanor that may occur at the center lessening the “gray area” in application of policy and it has eradicated subjective implementation of discipline since ramification and restorative intervention are clearly identified for every misdemeanor that may be committed.”
She added that it also addressed issues on bias treatment of residents and favoritism in responding to policy violations and institutionalized a clear policy on behavioral intervention.
“With this, we have zero case of abscondence for five years now. This shows just how important it is to listen to the children and give value to their voice,” said Tillado.
Ang mga residente ay nagkaroon ng kalayaan sa lahat ng aspeto sa center. Dito rin kami natutong magpatupad ng alituntunin na nakakabuti sa aming pamumuhay and lalo na sa pagbabago ng aming mga masamang pag-uugali (We have freedom in all aspects. We learned how to impose rules for our betterment in life and even more for us to change our wrong behavior),” said one resident.
“Masaya kami kasi Malaya naming naihayag ang aming gustong mangyari sa aming rehabilitasyon (We are happy because we can freely express our suggestions on how we want to go about our rehabilitation),” said another resident.
RRCY VI has forged partnership with the Local Governments of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras, the Provincial Government of Capiz and one private academic institution, the University of Negros Occidental, Recoletos (UNO-R). The partnership is an endeavor that help in the provision of the needs of the children in the center including psychosocial, material, financial and aftercare.
The Center has four organized committees with approved authority, each with a child representative(s) as member(s). These are as follows: Child Protection; Child Participation; Donations; and Monetization and Waste Disposal.
The Center has conducted a variety of Practical Skills Enhancement Trainings which facilitated transfer of employable skills to the residents to help them gain income and develop industry and productivity. These trainings brought happiness and built confidence among residents since they have proven their capacity to earn while at the Center. RRCY residents also serves as trainers in skills trainings in Alternative Learning System (ALS) in the community of Guimaras.
The center employs a Multi-Disciplinary Team Approach Case Management. It is an innovative strategy used by the Social Worker which help so much in fast tracking the intervention program of clients at the center.
Likewise, RRCY adheres to the principle of Restorative Justice and provisions of Republic Act 9344 which protects and gives chance to CICLs. From 2017 to 2019, the center has served a total of 184 or 122.66% Residents and the average ALOS admission based is 457.36%. Also, it was able to discharged 70 or 155.55% Residents and the average ALOS discharge /rehabilitated-based is 453.4, meaning RRCY VI overshot its target for both admission and discharge for three (3) consecutive years.
For 2020, RRCY-VI has served a total of 57 clients, with a total of 12,750 days of care, still with 50 bed capacity at an occupancy rate of 89 percent.
RRCY VI is active in community participation which includes activities such as different national festivals, DepEd and DSWD activities and invitations to different occasions.
It has its own band, the Metamorphosis VI Band of RRCY, which launched its first album on November 27, 2018 entitled “Pag-Asa” featuring its Single “RRCY Song” which is the official theme song of the Residents. In 2019, the RRCY Band composed original RAP songs with the assistance and support of the Consuelo Foundation Team who came all the way to RRCY and offered their services on Music and Song Writing Workshop.
The RRCY VI has been accorded Level III Accreditation which is valid for the period August 16, 2016 to August 15, 2021 by the DSWD Standards Bureau. It was conferred the Best Center Award in the 2017 Praise Group Award category at the regional level. On March 21, 2018, it garnered the 2nd Best Center in the 2017 DSWD Praise Awards. Recognizing its strong commitment to sustain its accreditation, OIC-Regional Director of DSWD VI awarded RRCY VI with a Certificate of Appreciation on January 7, 2019. The following month, February 23, 2019 RRCY VI once again bestowed the Best Center in 2018 Praise Group Category Regional Level.
The center has been blessed with several improvements and constructions of its facilities. It has greatly improved with the construction of new buildings like the activity center, industrialized kitchen, glass walled dining area, new home life office, warehouse and activity center. Renovation/repair includes the U-shaped building, individual bed dividers, built-in cabinets and the front gate and the completion of the 5-hectare perimeter fence.
The Center has an Emergency Plan and devices.
For 2020, Fire Safety Drill was conducted at RRCY by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BOF) on March 19, 2020. The residents gained knowledge and skills on how to put out fire and what to do in case of fire outbreak.
RRCY VI has a certified first-aider who has undergone a Training on First Aid and Critical Incident Management Training. /dswd6