At a meeting held this week in Phnom Penh, His Excellency Vong Soth, Minister for Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) and CCF Founder and Executive Director Scott Neeson discussed the importance of setting rigid guidelines for NGOs dealing with vulnerable children. The Minister expressed his appreciation at CCF’s support of the Royal Government’s regulations regarding residential care for vulnerable children. The Minister said that all NGOs need to apply this new policy and meet the standards that have been set, and congratulated Scott and CCF on their efforts to help vulnerable people. Neeson congratulated the Minister on the residential care policy, saying enforcing it will go a long way to protecting the rights of vulnerable children and safeguarding against unscrupulous people opening residential care facilities for their own personal gain. Neeson committed to make CCF a model NGO that the ministry can use as a standard for how the residential care guidelines should be implemented by other NGOs. In the last two years, CCF has built more than 360 homes for families in the Steung Meanchey community. CCF’s extensive child care, community support and healthcare programs enable children to live at home with their families while attending CCF’s award-winning education program. A number of basic services encourage school attendance, starting with the provision of subsidized rice. CCF’s support increases in line with the family’s commitment to regular schooling, providing safe domestic situations and preventing the child from undertaking labor. Families who prioritise their child’s education, provide safe living conditions free from domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse are provided the option of moving into a World Housing home. Although a more complex approach to ensure regular school attendance, this model keeps the child and family together. Most of all, it works, with remarkably low absentee rates, increased parental engagement and a new sense of hope. Of the more than 2,250 children in CCF’s education program, 88% stay with their families each night or, if in higher education, at least twice a week. For children who come from outside of Phnom Penh, CCF arranges regular transport back to their families once or twice a month. Parents are encouraged to visit their children and, if necessary, CCF will pay for their transportation. CCF encourages children to live with their families, and re-integrates children from residential care if changes in their family situation make it safe for them to move home. Children learn more and function better when part of the community. The Minister congratulated CCF on its commitment to finding resources and supporting families to keep children living at home. He praised the CCF Granny Program, which not only provides care for elderly people in the Steung Meanchey community, but also builds connections between the younger generation of CCF students and the wisdom of older people in the community. In the meeting, Minister H.E. Vong Soth, “expressed his endless support to the organization for carrying out its duty so far on the development of the whole society, especially on helping to further promote the construction of houses for poor families in the community.” Accepting an invitation to attend a World Housing opening, the Minister said MoSVY will fully cooperate and support CCF in its efforts to assist the impoverished children in Cambodia.