The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and USAID last Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Accra under which USAID will provide $3 million to improve child adoption and fosterage in Ghana.
The Sector Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, signed on behalf of the government, while the USAID-Ghana Mission Director, Mr Andy Karas, signed on behalf of USAID.
Mr Robert Jackson, the US Ambassador to Ghana, initialed for his country.
Effective protective system
In a speech prior to the signing of the MOU, Nana Oye said the funding would contribute to the creation of a more effective protective social welfare system and better position the DSW to activate other alternative care interventions which promote the healthy development of children, strong families and safe communities.
She said the government’s long-term policy objective for child care reform is to de-emphasise the over-reliance on care systems for children based on institutionalisation and promote a range of integrated family and community-based care services for children without appropriate parental care.
She said the reforms emphasise early intervention, effective monitoring and protection within the overall system of child protection.
Nana Oye announced that a Central Adoption Authority had thus been established to oversee all adoptions, with the view to promoting the well-being and best interest of children.
The authority also regulates inter-country adoptions.
She said the ministry had also initiated a process towards the development of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) policy which would eventually lead to the enactment of a legal and regulatory framework on the establishment and running of NGOs in the country.
Strengthening social works
Mr Karas, for his part, said the partnership would help in establishing standards for orphanages to ensure that no child lived in a substandard orphanage.
He commended social workers in the country for their efforts at ensuring that they put to good use the few resources available to them.
He said every child in Ghana deserved to live in a decent home and was optimistic that the partnership would help ensure that vulnerable children lived in dignity.
Mr Karas expressed USAID’s commitment to work with the government to ensure the security and protection of all children.
Mr Jackson, in his remarks, said many of the country’s one million orphans were living in unlicensed orphanages, and added that those children were often subjected to violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect and were not guaranteed the basic necessities of life such as food, water, education and health care.