The Effect of Parent's Migration on the Rights of Children Left Behind
Author(s): R. Edillon
This study focuses on children left behind by their parent(s) working overseas and how their rights are addressed in the absence of one or both parents. The study finds mixed effects of having an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) parent on meeting the rights of the child, using proxy measures. In terms of survival, the economic advantage resulting from the presence of an OFW parent does not seem to have altered health-seeking behaviour, which remains poor. The number of visits to medical personnel decreases as the older children are considered. There are also indications of a high incidence of hygiene-related health problems. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of OFW children are not protected against economic shocks. Very few of the families have liquid assets, since they prefer to invest in new houses and only a few have private insurance coverage. They also appear to be more vulnerable to psycho-social shocks brought about by the splitting-up of families. Moreover, most children of OFWs do not feel that they have active participation in family decision-making. Compared to children of non-OFW parents, participation in community and civic organizations is lower. Summarizing the extent to which the rights are met into a "utility" measure, the study finds that an increase in money and/or adult attention does appear to increase the degree to which children feel "satisfied." The values that parents/guardians ascribe to money and adult attention inputs vary according to the conditions facing the household. Families with OFW parent ascribe higher value to money while families with no OFW parent ascribe higher value to adult attention inputs. With respect to families with OFW parent, parents/guardians value money and adult attention inputs differently from their children.