Child protection worsens as more children live in orphanages in Ghana

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has stated that 5,000 children live in orphanages and other residential care institutions in Ghana as child protection continued to worsen despite great strides made to bring children back from unnecessary institutionalization.

UNICEF noted that from global research, children thrived in a family environment and that a child’s general development and protection was often hampered when he or she grows up in an institution.

It said this at an Upper West Regional validation workshop in Wa as part of the national child protection baseline survey in a bid to develop a national child protection system and juvenile justice fit for Ghana.

According UNICEF, a new child policy framework would be drafted and made ready by the end of 2013 by the government of Ghana with support from development partners.

“This policy framework would inform the design of a child and family welfare service delivery system and juvenile justice system that draws on the strengths of existing community structures and traditions and outlines a realistic, sustainable and culturally appropriate system based on a dynamic partnership between the formal systems and communities,” UNICEF stated.

Touching on why the country is still failing in its child protection, the Organization said there was no national policy on child protection and there was also a wide disconnect between the laws made on child protection in Ghana and the practice of the law.

“Efforts to improve justice for children have not been integrated into the broader justice sector reforms,” UNICEF said.

It called for the creation of a protective environment for children where they are free from violence, exploitation and unnecessary separation from family.

Laws, services, behaviors and practices that minimized children’s vulnerability should be made to help strength children protection, it said. GNA

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