Illegal orphanages spring up in V/R … Dept. of Social Welfare threatens closure
By: Samuel Agbewode, Ho
The Volta Region branch of the Department of Social Welfare has intensified its activities to ensure that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in areas of child care and protection possess the relevant licenses.
Subsequently, the Department has formed a regional monitory team, comprising the Department of Children, ministries of Health and Education, and Department of Women among others to help ensure that institutions claiming to be working in the interest of child growth and development, observe the rules and regulations that governed their activities.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle in Ho, the Assistant Director, Department of Social Welfare in Charge of Child Rights Promotion Programme, Mr. Peter Hlorvor, explained that the categories of children who needed support include orphans and trafficked children.
Mr. Hlorvor said the monitory team had so far identified 22 children homes and orphanages, which are operating without licenses.
According to him, out of the 22 unlicensed orphanages and children’s homes operating in the region, two had already been closed down.
He pointed out that screening of all the children’s homes and orphanages would continue to see whether they were operating within the rules and regulations, and would decide which of the orphanages or children’s homes qualify to be licensed.
Mr. Hlorvor stressed that the government initiated guidelines and rules to regulate the activities of people managing orphanages, and that the Department of Social Welfare would continue to monitor operations of such institutions claiming to be working in the areas of child care and protection.
He said the Care Reform Initiative instituted by the government had shown that the best place to care for children more effectively was at home with the family, noting that institutions caring for children should be seen as a temporary place. He, however, admitted that these institutions had roles to play in taking good care of children.
Mr. Hlorvor continued that Regional Orphans and Vulnerable children Coordinating committee was also formed to coordinate the activities and programmes of child welfare related institutions, to ensure that they really work to protect the interest of needy children in the region, and that very soon, his outfit would come out with a number of children in the identified orphanages and children’s homes who have families to help facilitate their integration.
He advised parents to plan effectively, in order to ensure that they gave birth to the number of children they could take care of.
He noted that the increasing cases of child trafficking and child abuse clearly showed that some parents had become very irresponsible.
Mr. Hlorvor disclosed that one NGO, Madamfo Ghana, which is working in child protection related activities in the region, had built a modern children’s home in Ho, which would serve as a transit shelter for rescued children before they would be reintegrated with their parents.
He commended the NGO for the foresight, because it would help in promoting activities of child care and protection in the region.
The Volta Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Mr. Barnabas Adjin, said the Department, which was one of the key institutions in the country, lacked the needed logistics and human resources to operate.
Mr. Barnabas disclosed that the region could boast of only one vehicle at the regional office, which became available as a result of the Livelihood Empowerment Programme.
He stated that there had been unprecedented infrastructural development in the region since the elimination of schools under trees, with significant development, particularly, in the senior high schools.
The Regional Director of Education, Mr. Mahama Iddrisu, indicated that the review performance was to take stock of previous activities, as well as to socialise, share, discuss plans initiated by the Education Directorate in the region, and to formulate strategies to improve upon education delivery in the coming years.
Meanwhile, Mr. Iddrisu has expressed gratitude to the government for the provision of free school uniforms, books, school infrastructure, laptops and vehicles to support educational activities in the various districts in the region.
Short URL: http://thechronicle.com.gh/?p=44436