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Let’s Move Away From Institutionalizing Children - Social Welfare Department   
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Madam Georgina Mensah, Deputy Director of the Standard, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, Department of Social Welfare has underscored the need to revert to its social values of children growing up in families rather than residential homes and orphanages.

She said when children grew up in families, they were able to have effective “bonding and attachment” and also acquired needed cultural values that society would appreciate.

Madam Mensah was speaking at a sensitisation workshop organised by the Department of Social Welfare with Support from USAID for stakeholders in the Volta Region on Adoption and Foster Care Regulations in Ghana.

She said the workshop was aimed at educating and building the capacity of the various stakeholders and the media in the childcare system to carry out their mandates in providing care and protection to children.

Madam Mensah said as the country continued to deinstitutionalize children there was the need to intensify education on awareness creation of the foster care system, which was aimed at providing them with family life so people could volunteer to become foster parents.

She said though the informal fostering was in existence, it was not under any regulation, therefore the new reforms were aimed at formalising it to ensure that proper and effective care was given to children.

Mr Fred Sakyi Boafo, Deputy Director, Child and Family Welfare Division, Department of Social Welfare, said the new reforms and regulations with regard to the adoption law was geared towards addressing the gaps in the law and also upholding the interest of the child at all times.

He said unlike the previous law, where application for adoption order could be sent to Family Tribunal or Circuit Courts, the new regulation required that such orders be sent to only High Court within the jurisdiction, where the child resided on the date of the application.

Mr Boafo said the new regulation also required applicants to fill what he called a “commitment form,” which would be done by two people to declare their willingness to offer best care and protection to the child at all times.

He said an adoption order by an adoptive parent could also be revoked under the new regulation on the grounds of fraud, misrepresentation of facts leading to the grant of the adoption order or discovery of new information, which if previously known would have disqualified the adoptive parents from obtaining the adoptive order.

Mr Boafo said the new regulation also established Central Adoption Authority with the mandate to oversee activities regarding child adoption and also issued “Certificate of Conformity” to adoptive parents.

Madam Stella Agbezuhlor Mawutor, Acting Volta Regional Director, Department of Social Welfare urged the media to collaborate with the Department of Social Welfare to sensitise the public on the new reforms.

The participants were taken through topics such as; foster care, categories of foster care, procedures of becoming a foster parent, guiding principles of foster care, role of District Assemblies in child protection, role of Regional and District foster care Placement Committee, Care Order, Adoption Reforms and Regulations, In-country Adoption, Inter-country Adoption among others.
Source: GNA

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