Sankey Samaritan’s most recent license to operate was issued in 2009 and expired in 2012. After that point, it was operating without a license. A September 2013 DSWD report documented numerous irregularities in the operation of Sankey and recommended its license be held in abeyance until the issues were resolved. Examples:
- Director Toto Luchavez was conducting counseling sessions instead of the licensed social worker; sessions were not documented. It was highly recommended that all counseling be done by the licensed social worker.
- Toto Luchavez was both director and president of the board, which was atypical: usually the director is someone without voting power on the board, to avoid conflict of interest.
- Keeping children in the center for a long period of time was contradictary to DSWD’s policy on the deinstitutionalization of children.
- The 2012 Annual accomplishment report submitted by Sankey did not include the difficulties and problems encountered, including truancy, pornography, and marijuana usage. These were required to be reported with plans of action attached.
- One Sankey youth was reported missing in August 2013 and only returned after several weeks.
- Only one social worker was employed for 31 youth; the recommended ratio was 1 worker per 25 children.
- Case work for the children was found to be missing progress reports, discharge plans, and updated treatment plans.
- Most children in the home were listed as being there because of the family’s financial inability to care for them, not abuse. Yet no clear set of interventions was in place to assist the families in reunification.
- Some children in the home did come from backgrounds involving sexual abuse. Other children had disabilities or other needs. In such cases, Sankey was supposed to refer them to another home that had programming to handle such special cases.
- Some children were discharged without documentation regarding the discharge.
The Philippines has followed most developed countries in requiring children to either be reunified with their family or placed in a family situation. Institutionalization of children has been shown through many years of research to harm their health and development and expose them to risk of abuse. For more information, see wearelumos.org.