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PH shares disaster management experience in 1st World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey

A 13-man Philippine Delegation, led by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, took part in the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in  Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 May 2016, to share its vast experience in disaster risk reduction and management.

“Our participation in this Summit is a commitment to continue the Philippines’ long tradition of humanitarian assistance… This tradition lives on,” said Sec. Soliman as she delivered the Philippine statement during the first day of the United Nations (UN)-organized summit.

Along with Sec. Soliman were senior officials from the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Embassy in Turkey, National Mapping and Resource Information Agency (NAMRIA) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

The Philippine delegation to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 May 2016.

The Philippine delegation to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 May 2016.

The delegation was also joined by representatives from civil society organizations such as the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Philippine Support Services Agencies (PHILSSA), People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN), Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DRRNet) Community Disaster Preparedness (CDP), UFS, Socio-Pastoral Institute, PKKK, and the Philippine Disaster Response Foundation (PDRF).


The Philippines delivered the following core commitments: (1) to address the root causes of conflict by sustaining political engagement; (2) to uphold international human rights and humanitarian laws to protect civilians in conflict situations; (3) work on the passage of its Internally Displaced Persons Bill and fulfill the objectives of Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, passed into law to improve the care and protection of children affected by disasters; (4) to accelerate the reduction of disaster and climate-related risks through  sharing of risk information and operational data sets, capacitating local actors governments and CSOs and harnessing in-country resources, prioritizing disaster-resilient
and community-driven infrastructure and continuing its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) engagement with the private sector; continue with the Conditional Cash Transfer Program to empower and enhance the resilience of poor families; and, (5) to enhance financing and social support to vulnerable communities, implement disaster  risk financing and insurance strategies, increase investments for risk resilience, and mobilize climate financing.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman delivers the Philippine statement in the plenary session of the 1st World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 May 2016.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman delivers the Philippine statement in the plenary session of the 1st World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 May 2016.

“We call on all to put people at the heart of the agenda for Humanity, uphold their dignity and empower them so that no one is left behind,” Sec. Soliman concluded the country’s plenary statement.

Rich experience

The Philippine delegation and local CSOs that participated in the various Roundtable discussions, special sessions and side events cited the Philippines’ advanced and rich experience in DRRM efforts and continued to advocate the following key concepts and practices, namely: a rationalized planning system for DRRM following the “one assessment, one plan” strategy; stronger coordination at different governance levels; the centrality of local people and humanitarian actors; states as the main drivers of DRRM; focus on disaster-resilient infrastructure; continuing engagement with the business sector
with added emphasis on financing; accessibility issue of persons with disabilities; innovation in disaster risk financing and insurance strategies; and piloting new solutions to
urban crises.

A video of Secretary Dinky Soliman delivering the Philippine statement in the World Humanitarian summit can be viewed in the following link: philippines-world- humanitarian-summit-istanbul-2016- member-states- and-stakeholders- announcements/4907734504001

The WHS , which gathered 9000 participants from 173 countries, including 55 heads of States and Governments, and hundreds of private sector representatives, civil society and non-governmental organizations, was a global response to the call of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to chart a new and coherent multi-stakeholder course in address present-day humanitarian crises.##

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Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act marks 10th year of passage, celebrates milestones

“Today marks a significant day, not only for us in the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council  (JJWC), but most importantly for the children, especially those at risk and in conflict with the law. A decade ago, our law makers enacted Republic Act (RA) 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, a landmark child protection law in Asia, and it has been a colorful and meaningful journey.”

This was the message of  JJWC Executive Secretary Atty. Tricia Clare A. Oco as the Council celebrated on May 20 the milestones in the implementation of  RA 9344 which established a comprehensive juvenile justice system in the Philippines.

Prior to the enactment of the law, data showed that more than 52,000 Filipino children are in detention or under custodial setting. They suffer from all kinds of abuses and some were meted out with capital punishment.

As part of the celebration, the JJWC recognized the invaluable support and contribution of member and coordinating agencies and other stakeholders. Thirteen local government units also received awards for actively implementing the law in their respective jurisdictions.

Atty. Oco related that the implementation of the law is both fulfilling and challenging.

“It has been a decade of ensuring that children’s rights are upheld and their welfare is promoted. At the same time, we also work for the reparation and healing of victims, building of safer communities, and prevention of juvenile delinquency,” Atty. Oco shared.

She acknowledged concerted efforts of all the duty-bearers in the successful implementation of the law.

Modest strides

As a policy-making, coordinating and monitoring body tasked to ensure the implementation of RA 9344, the JJWC has achieved various milestones for the law.

In 2015 alone, the JJWC has developed/updated, issued and disseminated 31 national policies, plans, and programs which include the Department of Education (DepEd) Guidelines and Procedures on the Management of children at risk (CAR) and  children in conflict with the law (CICL), Philippine National Police (PNP) Manual on Handling and Treatment of CAR and CICL, and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Guidelines for the LGUs on the development of Comprehensive Local Juvenile Intervention Program, among others.

Some 34 Bahay Pag-Asa have also been constructed nationwide for the rehabilitation of CICL.

In 2015, the JJWC has assisted 5,934 local government units nationwide in developing their juvenile intervention programs through the newly-created Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committees (RJJWC).

As a result of the monitoring and inspection visits facilitated by the JJWC and the RJJWCs, 69 children were transferred from detention facilities to child institutions or to their parents and guardians in the same year.

Furthermore, RA 9344 has also been nominated in the World Future Policy Awards as one of the policies that aims to protect and strengthen the rights of children.

For 2016 and in the coming years, the JJWC is set to ensure a more efficient, effective and better implementation of the law by continuing the strong coordination with all the duty-bearers and capacitating them to properly perform their roles.

A National Juvenile Justice Information Management System is also being developed to ensure proper recordation and management of all data related to children at risk and children in conflict with the law.

“What keeps us going is the number of lives that we are able to help change and bring hope to,” Atty. Oco emphasized. ###

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DSWD champions law protecting children during disasters

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman lauded the signing into law of Republic Act (RA) 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act by President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday at the Malacanang Palace.

The law mandates the DSWD to formulate a comprehensive emergency program for children during disasters.

“The rights and welfare of the children, especially in times of disasters, must be the utmost priority of the government. Though that is already being done, this law institutionalizes that,” Sec. Soliman said.

She added that in times of disasters, the children are among the most vulnerable to further danger and abuses.

The law was championed by the Department as part of the lessons learned during the past disasters and other emergency situations, especially during Typhoon Yolanda.

Aside from the DSWD, the law also mandates the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to promote and conduct a children-responsive training program for all responders in the calamity areas such as barangay leaders, community members, and rescuers, among others.

Under the law, a transitional shelter to cater to the orphaned, separated, and unaccompanied children must be established to be spearheaded by the National Housing Authority (NHA) in coordination with DSWD.

Stronger measures to ensure the safety, protection, health, and nutrition needs of disaster/emergency-affected children must be put in place.  The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Health (DOH) are the key agencies for the provision of safety and health services, respectively.

The Department of Education (DepEd), for its part, needs to come up with a plan of action for the prompt resumption of education-related services for the children victims of disasters to prevent longer period for them to be out of school.

President Aquino stressed that the different measures are  already being implemented in the overall government’s disaster risk reduction and management strategies.  However, RA 10821 ensures the institutionalization of the mechanisms for the protection and prioritization of the children sector during and after a crisis situation.

He added that the law provides for a stronger mandate and clearer roles and accountabilities of the different agencies in government in protecting disaster-affected children.

All of the programs and interventions mentioned in the law are also to be integrated by the local government unit​s ​in their Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) budget and program plans.

Presently, the DSWD is spearheading the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) in coordination with the Department of National Defense (DND), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), DepEd, DOH, Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other child-focused civil society organizations. ###

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DSWD leads PH celebration of Int’l Day of Families

​Sec. Soliman addresses some 500 family-advocates who came together to celebrate the 2016 International Day of Families.  With the theme, "Families, healthy lives, and sustainable future", Sec. Soliman inspired the participants to consider the family sector in the work towards sustainable development.

Sec. Soliman addresses some 500 family-advocates who came together to celebrate the 2016 International Day of Families. With the theme, “Families, healthy lives, and sustainable future”, Sec. Soliman inspired the participants to consider the family sector in the work towards sustainable development.

“Families are the foundation of sustainable development. It is my hope that the incoming administration will continue to implement family-oriented programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino to ensure that families can attain progress and development.”

This was the message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman during the celebration of the International Day of Families (IDF) at the SM North Skydome on Sunday.

The IDF is observed annually worldwide on the 15th of May based on the 1993 Resolution of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Together with the global community, DSWD spearheaded the Philippine observance of IDF in partnership with other government agencies, civil society organizations, local government units, and the SM Foundation.

With the theme, “Families, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Future”, around 500 families and family-advocates came together to celebrate this important day which highlighted the importance of family unity and togetherness.

Inspiration from Pantawid Pamilya

To inspire the audience, Sec. Soliman shared stories of family-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya who have achieved tighter family relationships through the program.

“May isang nanay na nagsabi na dahil sa isang session ng FDS kung saan tinalakay ay pagiging responsableng magulang ay naging maayos ang kanilang pamilya (A mother shared that through the FDS on responsible parenting, their family relationships became better),” Sec. Soliman shared.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18 years. It provides monthly cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers, and attending the Family Development Sessions (FDS).

FDS is conducted monthly by DSWD and partners-NGOs in coordination with the private sector and civil society organizations. It serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, among others.

Through the FDS, parents also learned about the benefits of positive disciplining versus corporal punishment.

International environment

Dr. Mariella Castillo of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Philippines also joined the activity to share the solidarity message of the international organization for Filipino families.

She emphasized the importance of the IDF’s theme which focuses on the significance of  families in global development.

“Families should remain at the center of social development whether in the conceptualization or implementation of policies and programs,” Dr. Castillo stated.

On the other hand, seasoned news anchor, Alex Tinsay also shared his thoughts on work-family balance during the event. He said that it is important to strive hard at working for the family’s future, but giving quality time to family relationships is also equally vital.

“The challenge for the Filipino family is to turn unattractive moments of family conflict into happy times of warm bonding. No amount of success could compensate our failure in our own families,” Tinsay emphasized.

A strong family advocate, Engineer Emerito Rojas shared his personal and family life story to inspire the participants in continuously upholding the Filipino tradition of strong family relationships.

Engr. Emerito, who is a cancer survivor, together with his wife and four children, has embarked on a unique advocacy to help fellow cancer survivors. As a result of this advocacy, the Rojas family became the 2015 Jollibee Family Values Awardee.

Engr. Emerito enjoined all families to work together to achieve progress and also to initiate change in the society.

“Change should start with the family, the smallest unit of the society. The government can only lead and show us the way,” he stressed.

Also present during the event were Commissioner Earl Saavedra of the National Youth Commission (NYC), Colonel Taharudin Piang Ampatuan of the National Defense Colleges of the Philippines (NDCP), and host-actor Robi Domingo, who came with his family.

As a follow through activity for the IDF,  DSWD also celebrates National Family Week every 3rd week of September. ###

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Protection of Pantawid gains primordial

Following the pronouncement of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte that he will appoint a member of the Communist  Party of the Philippines (CPP) to be at the helm of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) upon his assumption to office,   incumbent Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that she respects this presidential prerogative of the incoming head of the country.

“It is the right of the presumptive President to choose the members of his cabinet. We at the DSWD are now preparing our transition report. We want to make sure that the aspirations of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and other programs and services of the Department, especially the positive changes in the lives of the partner-beneficiaries, their continued empowerment, and the significant strides along health and education will be protected,” Sec. Soliman pointed out.

Earlier this week, the 8-point economic agenda of the new administration was unveiled, which included the enhancement of the Pantawid program. Sec. Soliman asked how this is consistent should DSWD be under a Communist party member. ‘It is on record that the Communist Party of the Philippines has not been supportive of the Pantawid program,’ she noted.

Currently, some 4.4 million households are included in the program.

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Kalahi-CIDSS women-volunteers in action

Women power in DavaoWomen-volunteers  in Barangay Katipunan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte lead the construction of a 1,300-Linear Meter Drainage Canal worth P2.11 million through the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services- PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (Kalahi-CIDSS-PAMANA).

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the core programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that aims to empower communities through enhanced participation in local governance and poverty alleviation projects. The program also promotes the inclusion of women in paid physical labor, planning and decision making for social development issues at the community level.

PAMANA, on the other hand, is a modality of Kalahi-CIDSS that provides conflict-affected barangays access to basic social services.

As of January 2016, Kalahi-CIDSS has a total of 289,100 women-volunteers nationwide​.

In Region XI, 54% of Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers are women. About 7,000 of these women volunteers have attended capacity building sessions, and 1,848 served as laborers in the construction of community sub-projects. ###

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PWD wins silver medal in int’l skills competition

A jubilant Julius Rosalinda, with the Philippine flag in the background, after winning the silver medal in the Waste Re-Use competition during the 9th Abilympics held in March in Bordeaux, France.

A jubilant Julius Rosalinda, with the Philippine flag in the background, after winning the silver medal in the Waste Re-Use competition during the 9th Abilympics held in March in Bordeaux, France.

Julius Rosalinda, a person with disability (PWD)  from Tagum City, Davao del Norte, brought honor and pride to the Philippines when he won a silver medal and the Excellence Award in the Waste Re-Use Category during the 9th International Abilympics competition​ in Bordeaux, France in March.

The  International Abilympics is a professional skills competition for people with disabilities and special needs.

Julius was among the nine PWDs who competed in the nine skills contests. They were supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

This year’s competition was participated in by more than a thousand delegates from 35 countries.

Julius showed his prowess  when he assembled a wine rack using wine corks, box, used ribbons, pins, paint can, old wood (from a burned house), pebbles, old glass, and old jigger.

Recognizing the feat of Julius and the team, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said, “The efforts and hard work of the whole team are greatly appreciated. Likewise, it is only fitting to congratulate Julius for winning a silver medal in the Waste Re-Use Competition.  He serves as an inspiration to his fellow PWDs.”

Crippled by polio when he was just one year old, Julius has overcome his disability with his determination to continuously hone his skills in designing objects which he sells to earn a living.

An accounting graduate, he was also the grand champion in the Philippines’ “Kakayahan 2014: National Skills Competition of Persons with Disabilities”, with his entry of a unique candle holder.

He used to repair electric fans and other appliances at DSWD Home for the Aged in Tagum City.  He is now an officer of Davao Del Norte PWD Federation.

“PWDs have the capacity to improve their lives and be productive members of society, as exemplified by Julius and the other members of the Philippine team who competed in the Abilympics,” Sec. Soliman emphasized.

Empowering PWDs

As the lead agency in social protection, the DSWD continuously advocates the welfare and well-being of PWDs, and implements programs with  local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) aimed at empowering the sector.

Among the programs implemented for the PWD sector are Early Detection, Prevention and Intervention of Disability (EDPID) among 0-6 year-old children, Tuloy-Aral Walang Sagabal (TAWAG),  alternative family support services, family counseling, training and employment, and referral services.

The Department also provides services to PWDs in its various residential and non-residential facilities nationwide. These are psychological and medical services; vocational skills training on scientific massage, handicraft making, tailoring/dressmaking, watch repair, computer repair, canteen management, daily living skills; and job placement.

In the first quarter of 2016, the Department has served 476 PWDs in its centers such as the Rehabilitation Sheltered Workshop (RSW), National Vocational Rehabilitation Center (NVRC), Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC), and Elsie Gaches Village (EGV) for children suffering from mental disabilities. ###

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After countless years at sea, Sama-Bajaus now find hope in mainland

Sama-Bajaus who are known as skilled fisherfolks now try their hands at planting

Sama-Bajaus who are known as skilled fisherfolks now try their hands at planting

The Sama-Bajaus or the sea gypsies as they are universally known for were historically a seafaring nomadic tribe of hunter-gatherers who lived in the waters of the Southern Philippines. They handcraft wooden boats to serve as their home and their workplace. They were born out at sea, lived out at sea, and they died out at sea.

But this traditional life has changed for some Sama-Bajaus. After countless generations at sea, some are now settling on land.

Forty minutes from the Zamboanga City mainland, a small community of Sama-Bajaus inhabits a section of Barangay Sangali.

Sama-Bajaus in Sangali are migrants who came from different parts of Mindanao, and who are continuously finding a place where they can sustain themselves and their families’ needs.

Sangali Barangay Chairperson Daud Bakil disclosed that Sama-Bajaus used to sail day and night with the currents, counting only on their fishing gears to make a living. He added that ironically, they survive the deadly waves for them to save their lives from hunger and poverty.

“Noon kasi, pangingisda lang ang source of living nila. Mahirap din para sa kanila tuwing may bagyo, wala silang huli, walang kita, at wala din makakain ang pamilya nila (Before, fishing was their only source of income. It was difficult for them to earn especially during the typhoon season),” Chairman Bakil opened up.

The people who once led nomadic lives navigating the seas have now increasingly adopted new livelihood opportunities on the mainland.


In November 2015, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) identified Sama-Bajaus in Brgy. Sangali to be the beneficiaries of Cash-for-Work (CFW) implemented under the  Comprehensive Program for Sama-Bajaus.

The CFW was conceptualized after thorough assessment and coordination with key stakeholders to choose and implement interventions that will not only address the economic conditions of Sama-Bajaus,​ but will allow them to become more adaptive in all types of environments.

DSWD- Field Office IX thought of introducing and transferring knowledge on crops planting to Sama-Bajaus to enable them, especially women, to earn additional income for their family. This will also help them survive whether they choose to live in coastal community or in mainland area.

Under CFW, identified beneficiaries are required to plant vegetables and other related activities for 10 days and get paid with P1,500. Aside from this, beneficiaries get to sell or bring home the produce.

DSWD- Field Office IX Focal Person for Sama-Bajau Program, Balma Sali, shared that they needed to partner with different stakeholders to realize the said initiative.

“Of course aside from continuous coordination with the local government unit (LGU) ,we also partnered with the Department of Agriculture for the technical assistance. They taught and trained our beneficiaries to plant properly,” Balma ​said.

Georgina Ruiz, one of the beneficiaries of the CFW narrated their experiences and the things they learned from the series of trainings organized by DSWD that helped them understand the program and the process of planting crops.

“Dimungug kami marayaw para makahati kami, byariin magtanum. Na imingat da kami Bukun da tuwi isab mahunit, pasal hinduan da kami. Na byaun awun na sin namu, iban mga sayul dahun pa bay. Magsukul tuud ha DSWD, ha barangay, pasal nagsupport sila kamu (We really tried to listen and learn how to plant. It was not that hard, after all. Now, we do not just earn money, we also get to bring home some food for our children. We are thankful to DSWD and to Barangay officials),” Georgina shared.

Meanwhile, Hermela Mosqueda, a Barangay Councilor witnessed how Sama-Bajaus were so enthusiastic to participate in the project. She was also surprised to know that  the Sama-Bajaus were  interested to learn new things, especially planting.

“Nung na-inform na namin sila na may paparating na tulong galing sa DSWD, palagi na silang nagfo-follow-up dito sa Barangay Hall. Interesado talaga sila. Kaya nasabi ko talaga sa sarili ko na hindi pala totoo na mga tamad ang mga Sama-Bajaus, na very dependent. Na-realize namin na talagang hindi lang sila nabibigyan ng opportunity para tulungan ang mga sarili nila (When we informed them about the CFW, the Sama-Badjaus showed their interest to participate. I realized that they are not lazy, they just had no opportunity to help themselves),”  Hermela related.

Georgina and her fellow Sama-Bajaus’ new learned skill has boosted both their status and of their family as the CFW did not only provide them with livelihood opportunity, but it also motivated them to fully participate in the training and proved that fishing is not the only option there is to live.

“Makug kami kasi awun na kami dugaing usaha. Misan kami pakain yatu, misan ha mga bud yatu, mabuhi na kami, ba’t maingat na kami magtanum, awun kame makaun, iban hika-buhianan ha mga anak. Oo, Sama-Bajaus kami sah, kaya na namu mangusaha (We are happy that we now have other means to earn. Even if we live in mountains, we can already survive, because we already know how to plant so we will have something to put on the table. Yes, we may be Sama-Bajaus, but we are capable to live a decent and good life),” Georgina added.

Georgina also shared her plans of sending her children back to school this year since she was also able to put up a small sari-sari store using the money she earned from the CFW and from the vegetables sold. Aside from this, her husband was also one of the beneficiaries of livelihood assistance given by the same program of DSWD.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman affirmed that vulnerable sectors, like the Sama-Bajaus and other Indigenous Peoples, when given the right push from the government can be instruments of their own development.

Since the start of the program, DSWD was able to serve 238 Sama-Bajaus in Sangali and 1,231 beneficiaries in other Barangays in Zamboanga City.

The Comprehensive Program for Sama-Bajau is on its 4th year pilot implementation in Barangays Sangali, Tulungatong, Arena Blanco, Bolong, Mampang, Mulu-Muluan, Muti, Maasin, Sinunuc, Sangali, Baliwasan, Campo Islam and Taluksangay.

It aims to enhance the potential or the capacities of Sama-Bajau so they will not resort to their negative practices, particularly begging.

The program offers Educational Assistance, Livelihood, Cash-for-Work, skills training and learning sessions focused on parenting skills and values re-orientation.  ###

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