Govt adopts child, family welfare policy

Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social ProtectionGovernment has adopted a Child and family welfare policy to promote the well-being of children and prevent abuses, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, has disclosed.

She said Cabinet had approved and adopted this policy on February 19, this year, to establish an effective child and family welfare system in the country.

The minister said this at a mock session on Ghana’s consolidated report to the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child in Accra yesterday.

The programme, organised by the ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), aims at assessing the ministry before its presentation at Geneva.

The report would be presented at the 69th session of the Committee of the Rights of the child from May 18 to June 6 in Geneva, Switzerland by a delegation led by the minister.

Mrs. Lithur said that a Justice for children policy was also currently being finalised to guide the interaction of children with the justice system of Ghana.

She said the government prioritised its intervention for girls, children with disabilities, children of asylum seekers, refugee children and children of immigrants, children with HIV/AIDS, children living or working on streets and exposed to sexual and gender-based violence.

“Government has also directed the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to allocate two per cent of the District Assembly Common Fund to support persons with disability and other vulnerable children in every district with the basic assistance,” she stressed

Mrs. Lithur said in order to address harmful traditional practices the ministry closed down the Bonyase Witch Camp in the Northern Region where 55 inmates were integrated into their communities.

She said the legal framework had been strengthened with the amendment of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) to criminalise female genital mutilation.

“To check the phenomenon of child marriage, the ministry in conjunction with the UNICEF has established an anti-child marriage co-ordinating unit under the Domestic Violence Secretariat of the ministry,” she said.

The former member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Children, Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo, commended the ministry for working towards protecting children’s rights in the country.

She, however, urged the ministry to continue with effective monitoring on agencies that protect the rights and wellbeing of children.

By Anita Nyarko

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