83 orphanages closed down

Mrs Comfort Asare,Director of Department of Social WelfareEighty three orphanages were closed down by the Department of Social Welfare nationwide within the past five years, for operating below standard.

Those affected were said to be operating in poor facilities, having a high number of children per care giver, not of standard, and offering poor nutrition and health care, among others.

A standard orphanage must have one care-giver to at most seven children, should not operate in a storey building, have a maximum of seven children in a room, and maintain airy and clean rooms as well as washrooms.

The Northern Region topped the list with 21, followed by Ashanti 14, Volta, 12, and Central and Greater Accra, with nine each.

The rest are Brong Ahafo, and Eastern six each, Western five and Upper West one.

The Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Mrs Comfort Asare, disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times in an exclusive interview in Accra yesterday.

She named some of the institutions as Liberty Home and Caring Moses orphanages both in the Ashanti Region, Least of these Orphanage, Faith and Fire in the Central Region, Eye of the Lord and Trinity Foundation Home in the Eastern Region.

The rest are Christian Soldiers, Street Academy and Cafacayo Charity Organi-sation in Accra, Duu Orphanage, and Orphan Friend in the Northern Region, New Life Academy in the Upper West, House of Hope for the Poorest of the Poor and Adom Foundation for Child Care in the Volta Region.

The others are Orphan Cry, and Worlds Alive orphanages in the Western Region, and Special Home for Vulnerable Children and Wenchi Rescue Home in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Mrs. Asare said the children in the affected homes have since been placed for adoption.

She said 30 more of such orphanages are expected to be closed down this year.

The director said some of the operators of the orphanages have been prosecuted, including Eye of the Lord, which has been asked to sign a bond and also stop operating.

Mrs. Asare said that Ghana is currently moving from institutionalisation to family based care, where the children would be trained in family life.

“If the child grows in an institution now and the care giver is no more there, what will happen to the child?” she asked.

The director said as part of its sensitisation programme the department was rolling out strategies to ensure family best places for children.

Mrs. Asare said that as part of measures to achieve its goals, more personnel are being trained to meet that task.

She said the department is not encouraging the setting up of new orphanages now.

She said anybody caught violating the directive would be arrested and prosecuted.

Mrs. Asare mentioned some of the challenges facing the department as the lack of human resources and logistics, adding that the department was collaborating with the authorities to address the problem to enable it to achieve its goals.

She called on expectant mothers who cannot cater for their babies to contact the department for assistance, instead of dumping these innocent babies in pit latrines, gutters and refuse dumps.

“Such behaviours are unacceptable and equal to murder, we encourage them to consult the department for assistance” she said.

She explained that the department would assist these mothers, through pregnancy until delivery, saying, “we would assess the problem and know the best care to be given to them”.

Mrs. Asare called on the public to support and provide care for the needy in the society by being foster parents to them.

By Anita Nyarko

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