INTEGRATING ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN (OVC) INTO THE FAMILY SYSTEMS – OVC CONNEXIONS.

The Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Connexions, Ghana, in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development under the Ningo-Prampram District Assembly (NiPDA) has organized a sensitization workshop on the Alternative and Kinship Care of vulnerable children for the stakeholders of Child Protection within the district. The rationale for the workshop is to promote the idea of de-institutionalization of child care, give alternative care to orphans and the vulnerable children in the family settings, which in effect would give them a sense of belongingness.

The workshop also sorts to identify OVC in the district and provide them a family as well as establish a reliable database on OVC for reference and decision making. Some of the potential beneficiaries to this programme would be abandoned/neglected, orphaned, trafficked, disabled and marginalized children in our communities. These children would be integrated into existing families for care, protection and general wellbeing, making institutional homes a matter of last resort. The workshop which came off on Monday, 16th, August 2021 at the Prampram Methodist Church, equipped participants with the necessary information and awareness to understand the importance of de-institutionalization of abandoned children to residential homes for absolute care and training. The President of OVC Connexions Ghana, Rev. David Kwodwo Ofosuhene explained that the OVC Connections is not against the operations of Orphanage homes. He acknowledged their contributions in Child Welfare but revealed that it is important to keep children connected in a family centered society as it allows the child to grow up staying connected to a family home which is in the best interest of the child.

According to the Deputy Director of Social Welfare and Community Development Madam Augustina Nartey, “In the year 2006, a committee on the Rights of Children on Ghana’s report recommended that State parties, Inter Alia provide active support for significant increase of the availability of family type of Alternative Care such as the extended family or fostering care in order to make institutional care a matter of last resort. In view of this, a Care Reform Initiative (CRI) was launched in 2007 with the goal of de-emphasizing the over reliance on care systems for vulnerable children based on institutions and move towards a range of integrated family and community based child care services. “This, she said offers the child a closer approximation to normal family living which plays an essential role in the child’s upbringing. She further stated that since the inception of the CRI, over 85 Orphanages have been closed down because most of them had not followed the right procedure for running the homes and about 80% of the children were there because their parents were poor and not because they are orphans. Madam Augustina Nartey further mentioned that as the children are reintegrated into the family care context, identified caretakers are to be supported by the various stakeholders such as the Church, Government agencies, Traditional authorities, NGOs, Community leaders, Opinion leaders etc to cater for them as the child’s welfare becomes the responsibility of the society as a whole.

The Deputy Director for the Assembly, Mr. David M. Tuglo emphasized on the need for extended family members to embrace such children as members of the wider extended family. They should play an influential role in ensuring that the child grows into a well-cultured and responsible individual in the society. He urged the participants to facilitate open dialogues within their communities to empower families and promote child concerns in the community. He advised the Director of the Social Welfare Department to take cognisance of this agenda and ensure expenditures related to this initiative is reflected in their budgeting so the assembly can as well support the success of the project. A planning committee was constituted, consisting of representatives from the various organizations present. They were tasked to plan and execute interventions which will enable the stakeholders and other benevolent members of the society to raise funds and support the initiative. Rev. David K. Ofosuhene urged all participants to give their maximum support and contribute immensely for the success of this laudable initiative.

I.S.D.

NINGO-PRAMPRAM

16th August 2021

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