Re-integration Social Welfare to revive care reform initiative

Mrs Comfort Asare, Director of DSW, said the initiative is to ensure that children who do not deserve to be there are reunited and reintegrated with their biological families.

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The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) says it would revive its Care Reform Initiative (CRI) to re-integrate some children in welfare homes with their families.

Mrs Comfort Asare, Director of DSW, said the initiative is to ensure that children who do not deserve to be there are reunited and reintegrated with their biological families.

She said this at a media sensitisation on CRI in Accra to discuss measures to reduce the effects of such homes on children.

Mrs Asare indicated that many children have been denied family reunion because their parents have been deceived by some people into believing that they could provide the children’s basic needs such as education only to abuse them or deny them love and care.

She said operators of children’s homes also promise parents non-existing privileges only to get the children to undergo physical, emotional, and psychological harm.

Mrs Asare noted that since CRI started in 2007, the department has closed down 84 homes and reunited 2,248 children with their biological parents.

She said refusal of most private children’s homes to accept children with disability has led to overcrowding in children’s homes run by the state.

Mrs Asare said there are plans to close down such private homes because of their un-readiness to show love and dedication to children.

“We are not rushing to close down institutions because we have to think of the well-being of the child first and ensure that the problem that made the child appear in the home is no more so the children don’t end up on the streets”, she said.

Alexis Derry, Resource Person at the Department, said research has shown that 90 per cent of children in homes have surviving parents.

According to him, in the absence of blood relations, DSW encourages alternative family care through formalised fosterage that would reduce the number and length of stay by children in state and private residential centres or homes to not more than five years.

Mr Derry said presently, the state has only three children’s homes namely the Osu, Kumasi and Tamale children’s homes as well as two sub-vented homes namely the Mampong Babies homes and Jirapa St. Joseph Orphanage.

He said there is the need to note the difference between orphanages and children’s homes explaining that orphanages accept only orphans while children’s homes accept both orphans and vulnerable children.
Mr Derry mentioned stigmatisation and discrimination as some of the challenges of children in such institutions.

He said although children are usually not well taken care of in such homes, the number of caregivers stationed there is also a factor.
“Poor caregiver to child ratio affects children; for instance, about two people may be taking care of over 100 children in the home making them unable to attend to each person very well,” Mr Derry said.

Mr Kingsley Obeng Kyereh, a child rights advocate, advised the public including caregivers to consider the survival, protection and development of children as well as their participation in issues of interest to them.

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Source: GNA

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