Dept of Gender develops 5-year plan to take children off street

A five-year strategic plan to address challenges associated with street connected persons is being developed, the Director, Department of Gender at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Rev Dr Comfort Asare, has said.

 She said the plan was to improve the coordination between Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) and curb duplicationof their activities in order to take children off the street, rescue and reintegrate them into the society.

Rev Dr Asare said this in Accra on Tuesday  at the commemoration of the  International Day for  Street  Children which was held globally on the theme “ safe spaces”.

In Ghana, the day was marked on the theme “The role of the everyday Ghanaian in addressing the issues of children in street situation”.

According to Rev Asare said “the plan is basically to guide us and make sure efforts are well coordinated,” adding it would not only address street children,  but also beggars and all other people seen on the streets.

 She said the first consultation meeting had been done and the document was currently with the NPOs, saying that by the end of May this year, the strategic plan should be validated and finished before the end of the second quarter.

 She said in 2014 the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection through the Department of Social Welfare established that 61,492 children were growing up on the streets of Accra.

 Dr Asare said out of the number 66 percent were migrant children and 18 per cent urban dwellers among smaller groups.

 She also said a research conducted by the National Security revealed that over 75 per cent of children on the streets were foreigners, out of which majority were coming from Niger, Mali and other African  countries.

She said some of these children lived on the streets with their families, others spent majority of their time on the streets  begging for food and money, while others lived on the  streets as orphans with no home  to return to.

The Director at the Department of Gender indicated that her outfit had put in place measures to prevent children from returning to the street, which included foster care and de-institutionalisation programmes

She mentioned that 1, 007 foster parents had been trained and registered with 247 children being placed in the care of some of them.

“We have so far removed 187 children from the streets out of which some have been reunited with their families while others in school,” she said.

She called on stakeholders to help address the challenges of street children, adding that the government had not relented on its efforts to ensure that the children on the streets were protected and given better foundation in life.

The Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Mr Daniel Mumuni, said the menace of street children was a reflection of a failed society, describing it as “an embarrassing situation”.

He, therefore, called for lasting solution to the challenge and urged every Ghanaian to come on board to curb the menace.

JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU

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