Category: Partnerships

Marriotts students raise £1000 for The For Baby’s Sake Trust with First Give

First Give are a National Charity that works with supporters and partner schools to inspire young people to make a positive change in society. Together, they have empowered over 160,000 young people to make a difference to thousands of charities across England and Wales.

Marriots School in Stevenage recently held a First Give competition for the children to present their understanding of a chosen charity. Class 8A , Brianna, Gabriella, Lerya, Jamie & Maria under the leadership of their teacher Alice Sweeney chose For Baby’s Sake as their charity to represent.

The children met with Steve Gibbs, For Baby’s Sake Senior Practitioner and created their own presentation for the final in front of five independent judges. Prior to this they had researched the charity , held an event in school which raised over £30 and gave an amazing verbal and PowerPoint presentation to the judges. So much so they won first prize and £1000 for the For Baby’s Sake programme.

Steve from For Baby’s Sake visited the children after the event and congratulated them on their success and thanked them for the grateful donation of the £1000.

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Welcoming Lauren Seager-Smith as CEO of The For Baby’s Sake Trust

We are delighted to welcome Lauren Seager-Smith as our new CEO.  Lauren was previously Chief Executive at Kidscape, the charity that provides help with bullying.  She joined The For Baby’s Sake Trust on 9 May.  Lauren has a great range of skills and experience and a trauma-informed, whole-family ethos.  

Lauren Seager-Smith said:

“I am delighted to be taking up the role of CEO of The For Baby’s Sake Trust.  I’ve worked with children and families for over twenty years, and there is nothing more important than the relationships we have with others – whether at home, school, or in the wider community.

As a parent myself, I understand how our history and our stories impact how we care and relate to others, and we all need support on the journey. It will be a privilege to lead a team providing innovative, trauma-informed support to families.  The services that The For Baby’s Sake Trust provides have the potential not only to transform the lives of the babies and families directly supported, but generations to follow. “

Dame Lin Homer, Chair of Trustees, said

“We are looking forward to welcoming Lauren Seager-Smith as CEO of The For Baby’s Sake Trust.  Lauren is a highly respected charity leader, bringing skills and experience for the next phase of our journey, including income generation and organisational growth, along with passionate commitment and transferrable experience of improving lives for children and families.

Dame Lin added,

“The appointment of Lauren Seager-Smith as CEO also enables Amanda McIntyre to move into a vital new role as Deputy CEO, focused on the next phase of building and sharing our evidence about what works, to support the expansion of For Baby’s Sake and influence wider practice, policy and systems.”

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The For Baby’s Sake Trust is recruiting two new Fundraisers

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is looking to recruit two full time fundraisers, a Trust Fundraiser and a Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser, these fundraising roles will be pivotal to the next phase of our development as an innovative and evidence-based charity.

Our work enables parents to break cycles of domestic abuse and give their baby the best start in life, especially when the parents did not have that themselves. We work directly with families through our ground-breaking programme, For Baby’s Sake, and we share resources and learning from our ways of working. 

Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser

The successful candidate will have a proven track record of identifying, securing, and developing partnerships from businesses. 

  • Ability to identify, secure and develop the support of key prospects generating new business through researching and prospecting new business supporters 
  • Able to maximise the potential for relationships by using the full range of fundraising mechanisms available, including developing the charity’s use of sponsorship and cause-related marketing 
  • Understand importance of accurate budgeting, forecasting and analysis and ensure targets are achieved, monitoring activity and progress against KPIs. 
  • Maintain and develop good relationships with staff, fundraising volunteers, and other key stakeholder groups in order to increase the success of fundraising initiatives 

Trust Fundraiser

The successful candidate will have a proven track record of successful applications to Trusts and the ability to prepare a compelling case for support matched to the criteria of the awarding Trust. 

  • Able to write persuasive reports with strong story telling elements 
  • Understanding of importance of building relationships with potential funders 
  • Ability to work to financial targets, forecasting and budgets 
  • Understanding of and ability to work with target driven outcomes 
  • Excellent research and analytical skills 

For more details on these roles and how to apply please visit CharityJob

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Safer Beginnings films feature For Baby’s Sake and our Emotional Safety Plan tool to improve maternal and birth outcomes

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is launching a tool, called an Emotional Safety Plan, which expectant parents (and family, friends and birth companions) can use to record what they need to feel emotionally safe before, during and after birth.  We created this in partnership with Safer Beginnings, a programme of work to enable, educate and support people on birth journeys. 

Safer Beginnings, led by Best Beginnings and White Ribbon Alliance UK and supported by The For Baby’s Sake Trust and 17 other delivery partners, aims to enable healthcare workers to deliver trauma-informed care and to educate and empower expectant parents to have self-agency and receive the support they want and need.

Judith Rees, Director of Operations at The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said

“The For Baby’s Sake Trust is delighted to have played a major role within Safer Beginnings and to have worked closely with Best Beginnings, White Ribbon Alliance UK and the other partners in the creation of new trauma-informed materials, including films.”

One of the films is an animation explaining the Emotional Safety Plan. Judith Rees, Director of Operations at the For Baby’s Sake Trust, said:

‘The Emotional Safety Plan tool is for anyone preparing for the birth of a baby. You can use it to record what you may need to feel safe emotionally and how midwives and other professionals can be supportive by their words, actions and making sure you feel heard.  It is especially useful for those who have had difficult or traumatic experiences in the past, or on the way to becoming a parent.’

A further suite of Safer Beginnings films encourage expectant and new parents to reach out for support if they are experiencing domestic abuse or using abusive behaviour. 

As the domestic abuse lead partner in Safer Beginnings, The For Baby’s Sake Trust has played a major role in these films. They include Nicole Thangarajah, For Baby’s Sake Practitioner, alongside Judith Rees, explaining the signs of domestic abuse, the motivations for mothers and fathers to seek support and how services can respond to help them make changes for themselves and their baby and keep everyone safe. 

The films are especially powerful through the contributions of parents who have reached out for support. Judith Rees said: 

“We are grateful to the parents who have shared their inspirational personal stories of reaching out to For Baby’s Sake, in order to encourage other expectant parents to seek support if they are experiencing domestic abuse or using abusive behaviours.” 

One mother who had experienced controlling behaviours through domestic abuse describes how she felt empowered and in control in her birth journey through the support she received. 

One father describes how he broke an entrenched intergenerational cycle of abusive behaviour and childhood trauma, built strong bonds with his babies and rebuilt a positive co-parenting relationship with his ex-partner through him and his co-parent both being supported by For Baby’s Sake.

The Emotional Safety Plan tool and the domestic abuse films can be accessed through thetools and resources that can support you’ section of our website. They are also available through the Baby Buddy app and the The Safer Beginnings section of the Best Beginnings website has more information about initiative. This includes further resources and information about events in March for people on maternity journeys, charities, health care professionals and educators.

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Children’s Commissioner calls for outcomes framework for children and families, citing joint work by Kindred Squared and The For Baby’s Sake Trust

On 15 December 2022, Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner, published ‘A positive approach to parenting: Part 2 of the Independent Family Review.  The Children’s Commissioner wants the review to achieve a ‘paradigm shift’ which would ‘put strong and loving families front and centre of our politics and policy making’ and help to change attitudes and overcome barriers to parents receiving the support they want and need.

Alongside the review, the Children’s Commissioner published three reform guides ‘addressing some of the thorniest issues when it comes to reforming and integrating different public services.’

One of these guides is the Outcomes framework: Annex to a positive approach to parenting: Part 2 of the independent Family Review’.

To inform this work, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner drew heavily on the joint report by Kindred Squared and The For Baby’s Sake Trust, Children and families: towards a core outcome framework and the discussions that The For Baby’s Sake Trust, Kindred Squared and the Early Intervention Foundation had been convening with multi-agency and multi-disciplinary professionals on this theme of common outcomes.

Building on this work to produce their report, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (CCo) convened a workshop with over 50 professionals from different services to hear presentations (including from the Trust’s Director of Strategic Partnerships), share challenges, expertise and best practice.  The CCo also drew on best practice in how to go about creating an outcomes framework, including the learning from creating the Core Outcome Set for domestic abuse services for children and families (where The For Baby’s Sake Trust had been a co-instigator and remains on the steering group).

The CCo ‘Outcomes Framework’ guide explains: ‘A high-level outcomes framework which is seeking positive outcomes for children and families is vital. Too often, services are working in siloes, working to different objectives based on their work with an individual, rather than seeing the family as a whole. This can mean too many families and children fall through the gaps in provision and struggle to support each other effectively.’

In response, the CCO propose the creation of a high-level outcomes framework, set out in the diagram below, which can be adopted by all services at a national, local and individual level.

This framework resonates with what children, parents and families have been telling the Children’s Commissioner, including through ‘The Big Ask’ and contributions to the Independent Family Review.

The Outcomes Framework guide includes important findings from correlating the data that the CCo gathered from The Big Ask, about children’s happiness with different aspects of life.  This included the finding that children who were happy with their family life were three times more likely to say they were happy with their mental health.

The CCO recommends that the outcomes framework should be easily accessible with the detail of how the outcomes might be achieved – possible indicators and metrics – sitting below the outcomes.

The Children’s Commissioner recommends a task-and-finish group to provide high level guidance on the application of outcomes frameworks across the public sector, suggesting that this group’s considerations should include:

  • A common set of definitions
  • Clarity that an outcome should be a positive and tangible difference to the lives of a person or group of people
  • A plan to improve the use of outcome metrics which can accurately capture tangible improvements in the situation of children and families, drawing on existing work to develop metrics around child wellbeing, domestic violence, reducing parental conflict, and consider how their take-up could be encouraged in relation to the Supporting Families outcomes framework, the Start for Life outcomes framework and children’s social care outcomes.

 The For Baby’s Sake Trust warmly welcomes the report and recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner, which recognises how an effective outcomes framework can drive system change. It is positive to see the joint emphasis on family outcomes and children’s outcomes, alongside recognition of the role of parents and the importance of empowering them.  We particularly encourage a whole-family approach, recognising of course, as articulated by the Children’s Commissioner, that ‘family comes in many forms’ and  ‘while the composition of families may change, their importance does not’.

 

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For Baby’s Sake referenced in national safeguarding guidance, highlighting whole family response and work with fathers

For Baby’s Sake was chosen by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel as one of four programmes nationally to highlight in a report identifying good practice on multi-agency safeguarding in relation to domestic abuse.

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel was set up by the Government to conduct national reviews of serious child safeguarding cases and to publish thematic guidance and learning.

Its report, ‘Multi-agency safeguarding and domestic abuse briefing paper published on 29 September 2022, sets out common themes emerging from serious case reviews, as well as from learning from evidence and stakeholder feedback on effective practice.

The report identifies four core practice principles that should underpin practice approaches when working with children and young people, their parents, wider families and networks in relation to domestic abuse.  As the diagram below indicates, these principles are recognised as interlinked and interdependent.

 

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The report’s authors met the Senior Leadership Team of The For Baby’s Sake Trust and had discussions with Team Managers or Practitioners across all our For Baby’s Sake sites to help identify the core practice principles and how they are interconnected.

The report’s information about For Baby’s Sake (see page 20 of the report) quotes evidence from the King’s College London evaluation that connects well with the Panel’s recommended core practice principles.

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel report’s authors highlighted a key learning from their own research into our programme, that ‘For Baby’s Sake is a whole-family programme, integrating work with fathers and giving them a voice within the safeguarding system that otherwise may not be sought or heard’.  This is significant in the context of growing recognition of the need to strengthen engagement with fathers within safeguarding.

This briefing report is the second publication by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel to make a reference to For Baby’s Sake and to draw on learning from our ways of working.  In September 2021, the Panel published ‘The Myth of Invisible Men: safeguarding children under 1 from non-accidental injury caused by male carers’. In their foreword to the report, the authors said, Safeguarding practice with fathers of young children is something of a paradox. Despite evidence suggesting some men are very dangerous, service design and practice tends to render fathers invisible and generally ‘out of sight’. The report’s title: ‘The Myth of Invisible Men’ reflects our resolve to get behind this paradox so that work with fathers might become less ambiguous and more effective.”

The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s Director of Operations and Independent Safeguarding Advisor both contributed to the report, through being interviewed and attending round-table discussions, to help identify effective practice, drawing on the ways of working within For Baby’s Sake.  This report cited For Baby’s Sake as one of very few programmes nationally working with fathers in ways that specifically incorporated the safeguarding and support needs of babies

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Domestic Abuse Act Statutory Guidance recognises needs of babies and their parents, in response to partnership campaign

On 8 July 2022, the Government published Statutory Guidance to accompany the Domestic Abuse Act which had come into law in 2021.

Among the welcome measures in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 were a clearer and more comprehensive definition of domestic abuse and recognition that children who are exposed to domestic abuse actually experience domestic abuse as victims in their own right – they are not merely witnesses.

The statutory guidance published in 2022 aims to ensure that the complexity of domestic abuse is properly understood and to promote a ‘whole system’ response.

During the passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill through the House of Lords, The For Baby’s Sake Trust led a campaign, in partnership with the Institute of Health Visiting and the First 1001 Days Movement, seeking amendments to recognise the specific needs of babies, including unborn babies, and their parents.

We argued that a baby’s first 1001 days from conception to age two are a time when domestic abuse is highly prevalent and particularly harmful to the baby and the parents. Equally, this is a time when parents want and need trauma-informed and attachment-focused support to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their baby the best start.  We called for specific reference to this in legislation to overcome the ‘baby blind spot’ in public policy, because decision-makers regularly overlook the needs of babies and their parents when designing services and systems for children and families.

Our Parliamentary Briefing prompted two hour-long debates in the House of Lords on these issues, at Committee Stage and then at Report Stage, led through cross-party amendments tabled by Baroness Stroud and Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop.  You can read the briefing issued to Peers at Committee Stage here and listen to the full debate on the amendments.

The For Baby’s Sake Trust, in partnership with the Institute of Health Visiting and the First 1001 Days Movement, coordinated a letter to the Home Office Minister, Baroness Williams of Trafford, signed by over 70 signatories, advocating for babies, including unborn babies, and their parents. You can read that letter here.

Although this campaign did not result in changes to the Domestic Abuse Act, it did cause Baroness Williams on behalf of the Government to commit to ensuring that the Statutory Guidance would recognise explicitly the needs of babies, including pre-birth, and of their parents, again starting in pregnancy.

This commitment was honoured through the publication of the Statutory Guidance in July 2022. In particular, as the extracts below demonstrate, our recommendations are reflected in three sections of the guidance: Impact on Child; Pregnancy; and Integrated Response. 

Extract from ‘Impact on Child’ section

Children and young people of different ages may respond in different ways to domestic abuse, depending on their stage of development. Babies and young children may be particularly vulnerable when living with domestic abuse, with protective factors often minimal for this age group (unable to seek help or remove themselves from danger, often ‘out of sight’ of regular contact with professionals, dependent on others and may not be able to recognise abusive behaviour). Babies experiencing the effects of domestic abuse may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping, have higher levels of excess crying and disrupted attachment…….

Extract from ‘Pregnancy’ section

Domestic abuse experienced during pregnancy in utero and in the earliest years is harmful to birth outcomes and babies’ early development. Whilst pregnancy may increase risk of abuse, it should also be recognised that the interaction with health professionals may provide an opportunity for women to seek support, as well as for professionals to reach out to women who may be experiencing domestic abuse. Health and social care professionals should also be alert to the need to offer support and safeguarding to the child post-birth if necessary.

Access to trauma-informed support during pregnancy, post-birth and into childhood can be of benefit to adult and child victims.

Extract from ‘Integrated response’ section

Health services should be encouraged and supported to set up robust partnerships with local domestic abuse specialist services and build referral pathways that are clear and easily accessible, to ensure staff feel confident to respond to victims. The NHS has a key role in providing care and support to victims of domestic abuse, including children, and babies through a wide range of health care services, including services for physical and mental health.

You can access the full Statutory Guidance here.

Marking the publication of the Statutory Guidance, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, said: “Domestic abuse has a horrific impact on victims, children and society more broadly. I welcome the publication of the statutory guidance which gives us a detailed blueprint for how we understand domestic abuse and how we improve our response to it. It’s essential that we all work together to tackle domestic abuse and take a holistic approach to this issue which the guidance helps sets out.”

The For Baby’s Sake Trust concurs with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner about the need for a holistic approach.  We would add an emphasis that this holistic approach needs to be trauma-informed and take a whole-family approach, including by seizing the unique opportunities to empower parents during the vital time of their baby’s first 1001 days, starting in the womb.  We welcome the Statutory Guidance as an important step forward and encourage decision-makers to have babies and their parents front and centre of their vision for breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.

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The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s trauma insight training supports practice development for multi-agency professionals

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is developing new ways to respond to multi-agency and multi-disciplinary professionals who want to draw on the learning and ways of working within For Baby’s Sake to develop their own practice.

One way we are doing this is through providing introductory and bespoke training to help equip professionals working with parents, babies and children in need of trauma-informed support.

Salford Council commissioned the Trust to deliver trauma-informed and attachment- focused training to social workers in Salford and Stockport, based on For Baby’s Sake. This commission was funded through a Children’s Social Care COVID-19 Regional Recovery programme funded by the Department for Education, recognising the need to address the longer-term impact of COVID-19 for children and families.

Feedback from social workers included appreciation for the ‘fantastic tools’, opportunities to ‘reflect and think about planning’ for parents, especially in traumatic circumstances such as when it is necessary to remove their baby, and how social workers can protect themselves when vulnerable to vicarious trauma or triggers because of the social workers’ own childhood experiences.

In March 2022, we also completed the delivery of a series of ‘Trauma Insight’ introductory sessions to over  200 multi-agency professionals across Hertfordshire, with attendees feeding back on having valued the learning, including how to put trauma-informed work into practice.

Unresolved trauma can negatively affect every aspect of life, so discovering the root of  fears, insecurities and sabotaging life patterns is crucial to enhance the possibility for recovery and sustained change.

The training for Salford and Stockport and the ‘Trauma Insight’ sessions in Hertfordshire introduced The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s suite of Trauma Insight Resources.  These practical and strengths-based tools:

  • Provide clarity on adverse childhood experiences and the impact of unresolved trauma
  • Offer advice, guidance, and examples of how to open up difficult, often avoided conversations for professionals working with families or children presenting with multiple and complex needs
  • Include separate and complementary resources for those working who work with parents and those who work with children
  • Are relevant to those engaging with parents, children, young people or families in whatever capacity

We had developed these tools in 2021, funded through the COVID recovery Community Match Challenge Fund. Our design approach included a co-production element with two key partners with a particular reach into families affected by domestic abuse and adverse childhood experiences:

  • The Association of Safeguarding Partners (TASP): the charitable membership organisation for local Safeguarding Partnerships and related bodies and partnerships, which promote the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people
  • Home-Start UK: the national body for 207 local Home-Start charities, which support families with young children through trained volunteers and expert support

 

We ran focus groups with TASP members and local Home-Start coordinators before finalising the suite of trauma insight resources and then held partnership webinars, reaching over 409 logins to a TASP forum and almost 50 Home-Start staff members, to launch the resources and explore the practice of trauma-informed work. TASP and Home-Start both share the Trust’s ambition to build on this foundation.  Feedback from the webinars has been very positive, for example:

  • “Given me some ideas for a particular case that I’m struggling to get the young person to open up. Thank you. I’ll also be looking at the resources to see if I can get more ideas. (Social Worker at TASP webinar)
  • “I found this really informative and I’m looking forward to having a further look at the resources, from a Domestic Violence & Abuse perspective we see trauma every day and the impact that this has upon victims and their children. I am really keen to not always blame the abusing person and we have started to take a trauma-informed response to their circumstances, the reason for abusing and using timelines to look at the abusing person’s life and why they behave the way they do to support behaviour change and recovery (Domestic Abuse Support professional at TASP webinar)
  • “The tools would fit in perfectly…really helpful…can’t wait to get my hands on them” (Home-Start Coordinator at Home-Start webinar)

The Trauma Insight Resources, comprising explainer animated films, diagrams and guidance (Trauma Insight: Overview; Growing Up With Adversity – the Adversity Cycle; Trauma Insight: Children; Trauma Insight: Parents), are available for download from the Tools and Resources section of our website

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Institute of Health Visiting and The For Baby’s Sake Trust launch domestic abuse toolkit with training for Health Visitor Domestic Abuse Ambassadors

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) and The For Baby’s Sake Trust have co-produced a domestic abuse toolkit for health visitors, which was launched on 14 May 2021 with training for Health Visitor Domestic Abuse Ambassadors.

This new, interactive, online resource toolkit and training package, Changing Conversations – Domestic Abuse’ sits on the iHV’s online learning platform.  The aim is to equip health visitors to empower parents to recognise  domestic abuse and draw on support.  Its title reflects the recognition that it can be challenging for both parents and professionals to open up conversations about domestic abuse.  There can be barriers such as professionals not feeling confident to talk about domestic abuse or parents feeling shame or worry about the consequences of disclosure.

The For Baby’s Sake Trust had received Community Match Challenge Funding, originating from the Department for Digital, Culture, Communities and Sport, to contribute to COVID recovery through outreach communications initiatives about domestic abuse, reaching expectant and new parents.  This funding recognised that expectant and new parents, and babies during the first 1001 days from pregnancy until age two, are a high-risk and high-prevalence cohort for domestic abuse.

The Trust decided to partner with the iHV to create new resources for health visitors. This builds on longstanding partnership working between the Trust and the iHV and reflects the iHV’s positioning as a UK centre of excellence, supporting high quality health visiting practice, in the context of health visiting as the universal service with a unique universal remit to reach all babies and their parents.

The Changing Conversations – Domestic Abuse toolkit uses the image of a ‘village’, with resources (including someFor Baby’s Sake creative content) located in different areas (eg home, cinema, park, library). It includes new recorded talks by experts, including one by a health visitor with lived experience of domestic abuse.

The toolkit was launched through a training webinar, attended by around 50 health visitors from around the country who are now ‘Health Visitor Changing Conversations – Domestic Abuse Ambassadors’. They will be cascading the learning, as the first stage of a plan to upskill health visitors across the country and open up the ‘village’ to them, once they have undertaken ‘gateway’ training. Feedback from the webinar indicates the difference this is set to make:

  • 100% of respondents felt they had an increased understanding of the importance of early intervention and support for families throughout their journey – and would recommend the webinar introducing the toolkit to colleagues

Some comments – Which part of the launch event was most beneficial and why?

  • “Toolkit – clear and concise with excellent tips for practice”
  • “Online toolkit – seems accessible and easy to use”
  • “Toolkit looks great and really easy to use

Longer feedback/other comments included:

  • “I think the resources and toolkit look fantastic and user-friendly. I am really looking forward to being able to make use of them with families and colleagues”
  • “Excellent and inspiring session. Good to hear more about trauma-informed care, Adverse Childhood Experiences and epigenetics. Thank you to all trainers and presenters”

The Institute of Health Visiting and The For Baby’s Sake Trust will continue to work together to keep the toolkit updated and to offer periodic training and insights briefings to health visitors on domestic abuse, in addition to the cascading of the training and resources by health visitors themselves, led by the Health Visitor Domestic Abuse – Changing Conversations Ambassadors.

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