The Public School System’s Mental Health Program—Project Haligi Aware—held a child abuse and neglect policy work session on March 30, 2021, with district staff and local partnering agencies, such as the Division of Youth Services, the Department of Public Safety, and the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence and the Office of the Attorney General.
The main goal was to review and make necessary changes to the existing standard operating procedures when child abuse or neglect is suspected and reported. All partnering agencies present at the event have a significant role in providing the necessary support for neglected or abused children, therefore creating streamlined processes across all partnering agencies is critical to providing optimal protection and safety for children.
“This work session is a reminder that there are so many people in our community who love and care for children and want the best for them. We may have different ideas about how to do that work, but we are all in it for the same purpose at the end of the day. We want to create a safe environment for our kids, empower them, empower parents, and empower our community to do their part and keep our children safe,” said Maisie B. Tenorio, executive director of the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and Board of Education member.
Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said, “Our students are our priority. We will do anything to make our children safe. …We support initiatives that aim to improve and complement the child protection systems and protocols established to safeguard our children from all forms of risk.”
Haligi Aware and local partnering agencies are committed to continued collaboration in order to improve the standard operating procedures to ensure the inclusion of children’s safety and mental wellness. Haligi Aware supports the CNMI PSS goal of providing a safe and caring learning environment that supports all students’ behavioral health and academic achievement. Haligi is the Chamorro term for the pillar of the Latte Stone and, like the haligi, the project team aspires to support the mental wellbeing of all PSS students, staff, and families. (PR)