The Division of Youth Services under the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has recently entered into a partnership agreement with the Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii (LDAH), the lead agency for the Hawaii and Pacific Island Parent Training and Information Center.
According to DYS Administrator Vivian Sablan, for the next two years, the division will receive a total of $40,716 in funding to provide services and activities that will include the “provision of education and training, information and resources, and individual assistance including technical assistance and advocacy for parents and family members of children with disabilities and other special needs, as selected for the CNMI.”
“We are very pleased to partner with a regional program that provides resources for mentoring and advocacy for parents and their families. At the same time, we hope to strengthen education and training,” Sablan said.
Secretary of Community and Cultural Affairs Robert Hunter expressed that partnerships across the community and region strengthen youth services.
“As of 2015, LDAH works with its new partners to bring parent training services to American Samoa, Guam, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. This education and training is essential to skill building for parents, families as well as caregivers. With the mission of DYS and the partnership with LDAH, the additional goal is to ensure all children with disabilities receive proper assistance,” Hunter said.
Sablan further added that the DYS Family & Youth Enhancement Program Parent Education Services, which oversees the coordination of all DYS parenting classes, parent development workshops and the CNMI Parents Anonymous, Inc., will be spearheading all the approved activities under the LDAH funding.
“This new funding source is key to strengthening direct and supportive services under the Family and Youth Enhancement Program Parent Education Services for Saipan, Tinian and Rota, specifically in servicing parents and family members of children with disabilities, youth with disabilities, educators and other professionals who serve children and youth with disabilities,” Sablan said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres shared that regional partnerships improve services community-wide, especially since the division is multifunctional and allows for continuity in services for complex problems such as child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, youth violence, and other related problems plaguing families.
“DYS plays a vital role in working with families and the community, and this funding is a welcoming addition to meeting the needs of our diverse population. I commend the division for reaching out to stakeholders to address the needs of youth services and the most vulnerable. Skill building and mentoring will go a long way in promoting the well-being of children, youth, families, and the community as a whole,” Torres said. (PR)