Parenting in the Social Welfare System in the Philippines Updates

Implementation research to examine and support the scale-up of Parenting for Lifelong Health within the government conditional cash transfer system, and evaluate the feasibility, accessibility, relevance, and impact of digital-hybrid modules in this context.


Implementation of the MaPa Teens 2.0 in-person randomised controlled trial (RCT) in partnership with the Joy Nostalg Foundation (JNF) continues to progress well. Pre-implementation activities were conducted in the sites of JNF, including facilitator booster sessions on 16 and 22 March and baseline data collection was completed on 3 March with 122 parent/caregiver and adolescent dyads. In addition, house visits have been carried out and module implementation will begin in mid- April. PLH Philippines (PLH PH) proposal to UNICEF Philippines for the Evidence- Based Parenting Programme for Teens and Teenage Parents in Cagayan de Oro City and Angeles City project has also received approval. The PLH PH team met with the UNICEF Philippines team on 4 March to discuss the details of the approved agreement to develop and conduct facilitator training. The team is currently refining the inception plan and risk assessment strategy document following initial comments from the UNICEF team. Under the new contract with UNICEF Philippines, information gathering workshops will be conducted with stakeholders in the two local government unit (LGU) partners. The information gathered will be used to design the programme.

Partnerships to support the scale up of MaPa programmes within the Philippines continue to progress well. On 2 April the PLH PH team held an online meeting with the Standards and Capacity Building Group (SCBG) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to introduce MaPa and discuss the requirements and processes necessary to forge a partnership. The focus of integration is developing a parenting intervention programme using MaPa as an example, with the aim to empower the DSWD to create their own evidence based programme. Following the meeting, a memorandum of understanding will be drafted to commence the partnership and sharing of resources. On 5 April, the PLH PH’s team also conducted a MaPa orientation to the Makati City Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) with the perspective of providing facilitators training to involved social workers and community mobilisation staff of the MSWDO. The partnership represents a very positive development and opportunity for scale-up as Makati (located in Manila) has arrangements for supporting other LGU’s.

Following a forum led by the WHO Philippines and the DSWD to discuss a call for proposals for the development of Framework and Action Plan for Parenting Effectiveness Service Programme in the Philippines, the team is currently preparing an application for submission to the WHO Philippines. In addition, an e-newsletter was disseminated to partners, containing PLH PH projects and accomplishments in previous years and the team are also in the process of crafting policy briefs with the assistance of the members of the core GPI team. In early March, PLH PH Research Director Dr Bernice Mamauag and Programme Director Jennel Reyes visited Udon Thai, Thailand to conduct ParentChat Facilitator Training with 19 Thai health workers. Finally, the PLH Philippines team welcomed Cherry Nicdao to the role of Training and Implementation Coordinator on 1 March. Cherry joins the team to support the Capacity Building Officer in developing, implementing, and monitoring MaPa training activities. Recruitment for a Capacity Building Officer is ongoing.

Preparation for implementation of the ParentChat study is progressing well. A revised study protocol was resubmitted to Chulalongkorn University on 13 February. Facilitator training led by Dr Berncie Mamauag (Research Director) and Jennel Reyes (Co-Principal Investigator) from the Parenting within the Social Welfare System team is due to take place, 5 - 8 March. In addition, data collector training, led by Wilaiwan Pongpaew (ParentChat Research Manager) and Dr Amalee McCoy (Co-Principal Investigator), is scheduled for 11 - 13 March and survey content for the study has also been finalised. Following the completion of data collection and analysis for the Social Return on Investment of PLH-YC in Thailand study, a draft report is currently under review with project partners Chula Unisearch and Sal Forest consultancy firm.

With regards to the PLH training, supervision, and monitoring hub at Boromarajonani Nursing College (BCNU), PLH-YC Facilitator Training for Beurng Karn province health workers took place between 14 - 17 February, with a total of 24 participants and a BCNU lecturer as one of the co-trainers. The final session of the PLH-Facilitator Assessor Training will take place on 1 March with 6 BCNU lecturers as participants. The 8th webinar for the Thai Positive Parenting Community of Practice was held on the 27 February and a 5th issue of the CoP Newsletter was released on 28 February. With regards to advocacy and scaling, upcoming events include a presentation with Lulu Ngcobo (CWBSA) and Faith Dziruni (PLH) on 1 March at the World Without Orphans Conference. A meeting was also held with Dr Ora-orn Poocharoen (Chiang Mai University) and Tim Reilly from Management Systems International on 4 January to review scaling scenarios and discuss a national strategy for scaling.


November - December 2023

PLH Philippines is engaged in several initiatives to increase the reach and scalability of MaPa Programmes. Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) has signed an MoA with the Joy Nostalg Foundation (JNF) to support the training and roll-out of MaPaTeens in communities in Sta. Maria, Bulacan (Luzon). In addition, the team is also engaged in a review of the Consuelo Foundation’s Family Strengthening Programme, which is implemented with partner communities countrywide.  These engagements are a start to sharing the team’s expertise and supporting other partner organisations in enhancing their family programmes.  In November, the team presented at the annual Ako Para sa Bata Conference for 2023, for a session entitled, “Strengthening Systems Care Enhancing Wellness for Youth and Caregivers”. A presentation delivered by PLH Philippines Research Director, Dr Bernice Mamauag highlighted the need to focus on caregiver mental health to support children’s mental health. This strategy is significant in the Philippines where government expenditure on mental health within the healthcare system is very low. The presentation also underscored UNICEF Philippines’ recommendation of scaling MaPa to address children’s mental health issues.

In terms of research activities, the protocol for the MaPa Teens In-person 2.0 RCT (to be conducted in partnership with JNF) has been submitted to AdMU’s Research Ethics Office (UREO) for initial review. Following the approval of the UREO, MaPa Teens In-person 2.0 RCT will undergo a delegated review and the trial will be registered on Open Science Framework. A MaPaChat 2.0 Graduation and Dissemination Activity was also held on November 11, 2023 at the Valenzuela City Hall Audio-Visual Room. Quantitative and qualitative results from the evaluation were presented to 20 parents, eight MaPaChat facilitators, four MaPaChat coaches, and five staff of the Valenzuela City Social Welfare and Development Office. The Valenzuela City Social Welfare and Development Office expressed assurance on the continuation of MaPa Chat in their municipality and many graduate parents also expressed MaPaChat’s effectiveness in their homes. Following this event, a co-design workshop with community programme implementers is planned for 2024.

The PLH Philippines team has invested a significant amount of time in adapting existing material into a hybrid-ready MaPa Teens Manual. The manual incorporates content and insights from research and implementation experience in the Philippines (MaPa Teens 2019, and Map in Residential Care Facilities) and elsewhere (ParentChat Hybrid in South Africa).  In addition, the team has enlisted the services of a graphic designer to refine the design of the "Masayang Tahanan'' Framework for MaPa Teens programme. This graphic serves as a comprehensive guide for both facilitators and participants engaging in PLH's capacity-building activities, navigating through the nine sessions/module topics of the mentioned programme.

The PLH Philippines research team has completed implementation of the MaPa Chat revised programme. In addition, collection of quantitative and qualitative data for the Masayang Pamilya in Residential Care Facilities (RCFs) and Masayang Pamilya Chat (MaPaChat 2.0) projects is now complete. For the RCF project, a validation meeting took place on 18 August. Those in attendance included House Parents and Social Workers from the three NCR RCFs. The team also met with senior leadership within the Social Welfare and Institutional Development Bureau (SWDB) to discuss the integration of MaPa within residential care facilities. The team is engaging with the Joy Nostalg Foundation and the Local Government of Miag-ao, to explore training of facilitators in their local communities. Further steps will include support for monitoring and reporting the implementation of MaPa Tip Sheets as an orientation on parenting. Following finalisation of a study research uptake plan, the team have been exploring options for building engagement using media and digital communication channels, which will inform the content of a proposal for future activities. The team are also consulting with the advocacy team at the University of Oxford to discuss future activities for 2023, which will include the MaPa/PLH website and resources and a programme orientation video.

Parenting for Lifelong Health Philippines also had an organised symposium entitled, The Masayang Pamilya Program: Evidence-Based Parenting Support Intervention for Filipino Families, at the recent 15th International Conference for Child and Adolescent Psychopathology from 7-9 August, 2023. The team led by Research Director Bernice Landoy-Mamauag, Phd, Program Director Jennel Reyes, Research Coordinator Dominiq Reyes, and Research Manager Samantha Mendez presented the findings and lessons from delivering the MaPa Program in various modalities: via a chatbot, using Viber group chat, in-person sessions in Residential Care Facilities, and via the Philippine government’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program.

On 23 March, a meeting was held between UNICEF Philippines and Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH). This was attended by UNICEF officials Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, Behzad Noubary, Patricia Lim Ah Ken, representatives from different units of UNICEF, and Parenting for Lifelong Health executives Dr. Jamie Lachman, Saara Thakur, and members of the Philippines consortium including Dr. Liane Alampay, Jennel Reyes, Jessica Pollero, and Dr. Bernadette Madrid. The discussion focused on the scaling pathways identified during the preceding scale-up workshop with the PLH-PH Team.

This includes:

  • Integration of Masayang Pamilya (MaPa) Program to the Family Development Sessions (FDS) in the Pantawid Pilipinong Pamilya Program (4Ps)* of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which currently has four million Filipino beneficiaries,
  • Integration of MaPa Program in every social welfare office of the local government units through Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers in the Philippines Inc. (ALSWDOPI);
  • Integration in DSWD Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and other response mechanisms to establish parent support in communities affected by disaster/humanitarian crisis.
  • Integrating training in Parenting support interventions in DSWD Academy, currently being conceptualised within the Department. *Pantawid Pilipinong Pamilya Program is a conditional cash transfer program of DSWD for eligible poor households with children 6-18 years old. 

Additionally, the implementation of six modules of Masayang Pamilya Program (MaPa) in three residential care facilities (RCF) have been completed. Most recent completion was for Nayon ng Kabataan (Youth Village) as of 10 May 2023. MapaChat, Philippines adaptation of ParentChat, is now on its last leg of implementation in Valenzuela City. 

Reported by Victoria So

The implementation of the Masayang Pamilya (MaPa) Program in Residential Care Facilities (RCF) began on February 16, 2023. Three (3) centres from the National Capital Region were chosen as the implementation sites, namely Marillac Hills, Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC), and Nayon ng Kabataan. From the pool of attendees during the facilitators training that took place in October 2022, there are 6 social workers who are currently facilitating the MaPa program to a total of 38 houseparents. The facilitators are also attending weekly coaching sessions, led by Jen Reyes (PLH-PH) and 3 co-coaches from the Center for Development Division of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The implementation is expected to end in April for Marillac Hills and RSCC, and May for Nayon ng Kabataan.


Reporting by Judith Valdes

September/October 2022

September and October were a busy two months for the Parenting for Lifelong Health - Philippines (PLH-PH) team! We were pleased to be involved in the Department for Social Welfare and Development’s 30th National Family Week, where we conducted a “Masayang Pamilya Para sa Batang Pilipino Program (MaPa) Session” for the DSWD employees and parents on September 28. The session aimed to enhance the parenting skills of the DSWD employees and parents as well as to practise effective and non-violent strategies to manage the negative behaviour of children.

Our team was also pleased to present  four papers in an organised symposium during the 58th Annual Convention of the Psychological Association of the Philippines on 22 September.  The symposium, titled "Scaling Parenting Support amid a Pandemic: Integrating the Masayang Pamilya Program in the Philippine Government's Conditional Cash Transfer Program", presented findings from the evaluation of community service providers' and beneficiaries’ parenting behaviours and well-being after they have received the facilitator trainings and modules, respectively.

PLH-PH continues its collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to rapidly deliver and scale-up MaPa parenting resources to support family relationships in the wake of Covid-19.

Recently, PLH-PH worked with DSWD Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’s (4Ps or the country’s conditional cash transfer program) National Program Management Office (NPMO) for the integration of Masayang Pamilya (MaPa) in the 4P’s Family Development Sessions through the eFDS conducted in 2021-2022. The eFDS-MaPa modules covered six topics–  (1) One-on-One time with your Child, (2) Talking about Feelings and Managing Stress, (3) Positive Directions and Praise, (4) Household Rules and Routines, (5) Managing Negative Behaviours, and (6) Problem Solving. These were delivered to all 4Ps beneficiary families through different modalities: social media cards posted online, small group neighbourhood discussions, house visits, text messages, and phone chats, by trained 4Ps municipal and city links. 

mapa facilitator training

PLH-PH  also worked jointly with the DSWD Program Management Bureau’s (PMB), Adoption Resource and Referral Division (ARRD) and Center Development Division (CDD). The ARRD facilitates processes related to foster care, while the CDD manages the Department’s centres and residential care facilities. Given the two division’s different needs, two MaPa programs with corresponding materials were developed – one for the foster care social workers and subsequently, the foster parents who are responsible for the Foster Care Program, and one for the social workers and house parents who are in charge of the Residential Care Service. The MaPa programs and materials for both programs were adapted to ensure that the contents are appropriate in the specific contexts and needs of the end users. 

For the collaboration with ARRD, training for social welfare officers and focal officers was held online in July 2022. The three-day training produced 40 national MaPa facilitators from the DSWD-ARR field offices. The PLH PH-ARRD team is currently finalizing the details for the implementation of the MaPa program under the Foster Care Program in four (4) selected regions. The MaPa program implementation will be deployed early 2023 and will be monitored and evaluated.  

For the collaboration with CDD,the in-person training of MaPa facilitators in three Residential Facilities in the National Capital Region took place from 24-27 October at Ateneo de Manila University. The training included social workers and PLH-PH team members. We were pleased to host Director Maricel Deloria (Director of Program Management Bureau, DWSD), Liane Alampay, PhD (Principal Investigator of MaPa), Jess Far and Joy Perez of UNICEF, and Jocelyn Mercado (Division Chief of CDD) at the training as well.

October 2022

In October, the PLH-PH team took part in two major events. The 14th Ako Para sa Bata Conference titled “The Beginning, the Building, and the Institution of Child Protection in the Philippines” took place on 3 October. PLH-Philippines presented at the sixth webinar in the conference series with a presentation titled “Paano Magkaroon ng Masayang Pamilya? Parenting as Prevention: Scaling Up Community-based Parenting Programs”. This webinar was presented by the Child Protection Network Foundation and UNICEF in cooperation with Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation.

You can watch the webinar below:


Secondly, Parenting in the Social Welfare System PI and PLH-PH programme directorJennel Reyes presented alongside Moniq Reyes (PLH-PH Research Coordinator) at theAteneo EDGE: Parent’s Health Talk on 26 October. The in-person event was for the benefit of parents who have students enrolled in Ateneo EDGE, in the Ateneo de Manila University. The team presented on parental and child mental health and the relevance of positive parenting practices to child and parental well-being as well as some modules and a background of the Masayang Pamilya (MaPa) or Happy Family Programme.