The Learning and Development Intervention (LDI) on “Unleashing Children’s Potential for Development and Independence through Enhanced House Parenting” took place at Richville Hotel, Mandaluyong City last 21-24 November, 2016. The first batch of the training was implemented to thirty seven (37) house parents (9 male, 28 female) from various DSWD-managed child care facilities in Visayas and Mindanao.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recognized the importance of boosting the capacities of house parents through training intervention, thus, the DSWD’s Capacity Building Bureau in partnership with DSWD’s Protective Services Bureau organized this LDI and utilized the training modules developed by ACTION and DSWD Field Office 3 (FO3) from its previous capacity building project in Region 3. This was implemented for the house parents of select DSWD residential care facilities from Region VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII and CARAGA including Home For Girls, Reception and Study Center for Children, Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth and Home For Girls & Women.
Through the Training Needs Assessment (TNA) conducted prior to the LDI, the training team was able to identify the competency needs of house parents that needed to be prioritized in this training. Legal Perspective was the first module and the first session was “Introduction to human Rights” and this was facilitated by Ms. Fedalyn Pitok-Baldo, social worker of PREDA Foundation in Olongapo City. She stressed the importance of knowing that children’s rights are human rights and therefore they are inalienable, universal, indivisible, interconnected and they must be treated with equal and utmost respect as one would have any other people. The second session “The Convention on the Rights of the Child” was facilitated by Ms. Nova Codoy, Social Welfare Officer III from the City of Social Welfare and Development Office of Olongapo City. This topic was designed for house parents to fully understand the framework in ensuring the survival, developmental, protection and participation rights of children. Both of the resource persons facilitated the learning for the third session “Selected Philippine Laws on the Protection of Children”. It presented the salient provisions of important laws concerning the protection of the rights of children in the country.
The second module was Custodial Care. Mr. Hubert Anonat of ACTION facilitated the first and second session “Children in Need of Special Protection” and “Helping the CNSP” respectively. He helped the participants define children in need of special protection; identify the situations where they are commonly found and how the house parents could better help those children. “Child Development” was the third session facilitated by Ms. Emelita Bolivar, Center Head of Regional Home For Girls, Nueva Ecija. The session conveyed a very important message to the house parents that they play a critical role in the upbringing of the residents under their care. With the knowledge on Child Development, together with the team of helping professionals, they can assess the current status of the residents’ development to determine areas for strengthening and improvement. Ms. Bolivar also facilitated the the fourth session “Responsible Parenting” with the objective to promote not just good parenting to the children in the facilities but a responsible one through applying empathy. She also discussed the fifth session “Gender Sensitivity” and explained that as house parents, they must possess a non-judgmental attitude, fairness and acceptance in dealing with gender issues within and outside the center.
“Problem Solving” was the third module for the training. Ms. Codoy facilitated the learning of the participants for the first session “Problem Solving: Philosophy and Process” where she emphasized that house parents are part of the helping team and are in charge of taking care of the children day and night, thus, they are faced with everyday challenges. She added that it is important that they are sensitive enough to be able to recognize these problems and employ appropriate problem solving skills to come up with sound solution to the problem at hand. And with equal importance, they should also be able to impart these life skills to the residents to empower them. The second session “Problem Solving Strategies as Venue for Problem Identification” was facilitated by Ms. Baldo and she highlighted simple activities that promote critical and creative thinking in children. She also introduced some basic strategies and activities to improve problem identification skills that promote the participation of children in the problem solving process. Lastly, she underlined the importance of building strong communication and trust with children.
On the last day, the module for Behavioral Management was discussed. The sessions “What is Positive Discipline”, “Principles of Positive Discipline” and “Other Positive Discipline” were discussed by Ms. Marivic Framancilla, social worker of Home For Girls, Nueva Ecija and Ms. Rowena Apolto, social worker of Amor Village, Tarlac. They emphasized that the house parents are at the forefront in dealing with the residents’ behavior and that considering the special needs of children under their care, applying positive discipline is just appropriate.
Several methodologies were used to better facilitate the learning of the participants such as video clips, lectures, discussions, role playing and different group activities. The facilitators and resource persons were also keen in soliciting the personal insights of the house parents.
Many participants expressed that the learning from the training would be very beneficial for them when they return to their centers, not just for their improvement as house parents but also for the benefit of children under their care.
During the closing ceremony, the Executive Director and Founder of ACTION, Inc. Mr. Hajime Yokota, gave an inspirational message to the house parents, motivating them to create opportunities for children in their facilities through improved house parenting.
The invaluable contribution of the resource persons from DSWD FO3 and from NGO and LGU partners, the support of the Capacity Building Bureau and Protective Services Bureau of DSWD, and the Office of Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and lastly, the active participation of the house parents from Visayas and Mindanao made this training a milestone accomplishment. ACTION is truly grateful to become a part of this activity. In the end, these efforts are all directed to an over-all goal where the potentials of children in child-care facilities are enhanced and developed in a nurturing and supportive environment.
By: E. Balais