Gender ministry holds stakeholder consultative forum on adoption, foster care regulation
Jun 11, 2016 at 9:03am
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As part of measures to ensure greater protection for children in the country especially in the area of alternative care, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has held a stakeholder consultative forum aimed at reforming and strengthening adoption and foster care processes in the country.
Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection- Nana Oye Lithur
According to the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, the forum seeks “to collaboratively engage stakeholders on alternative care reforms and to develop innovative strategies that ensure the reform process contributes to the development needs of all children and our great nation”.
Ghana has been ranked among the top twenty countries with the highest rates of inter-country adoptions over the years raising great concerns. A situation which has compelled government to launch an investigation into the matter in order to ascertain the cause of the condition from 2008 to 2012.
Some of its findings included, 96% of the sampled homes were unlicensed and unknown to government including the increment of number of orphanages by 169% from 2005 to 2012.
Addressing participants at the forum, Nana Oye Lithur revealed the growing concern in the country coupled with lack of monitoring system to track children who leave the country due to adoption forced government to sign unto to the Hague Convention, an International protocol which deals with the protection of children on co-operation in respect of inter-country adoption.
She disclosed her outfit will also be amending relevant portions of the Children’s act 1998, Act 560 to put in place stronger mechanisms to empower and protect children. Key provisions of the Amendment Bill for the children’s Act 1998, she highlighted include:
1. The centralization of adoptions to ensure proper coordination of adoptions in Ghana and minimize abuse of the system;
2. The restriction of adoptions to the high court to enhance monitoring of adoption applications and institutional capacity for the determination of adoption applications;
3. Clear definitions of roles of competent authorities authorized to participate in the placement and accounting for children in alternative care child who qualifies for foster care or adoption, the primary requirement being a child under a care.
4. Clear definition of a child who qualifies for foster care or adoption, the primary requirement being a child under a care order of a court; and
5. Clear definition of offenses and punishment against persons, including officials who violate certain administrative processes.
The amendment which will formalize the establishment of the Central Adoption Authority will address shortfalls in the existing law and will have many benefits such as:
Enabling gov’t to better comply with its international obligations on children’s rights; strengthen provisions of the Children’s act to safeguard the interests and rights of children in need of alternative care and protection and support the enactment of legislative instruments on foster care and adoptions for a better alternative care and protection system.
In adding his voice to reformation and strengthening of adoption and foster care processes in Ghana, Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF, Alhaji Idriss Abdallah lauded government’s commitment to developing a strong and effective child protection system by acceding to the Hague Convention.
He was hopeful to see the draft children amendment bill that will soon be laid before parliament passed into law, adding, “it will not only make the act more compliant with the 1993 Hague Convention, but will also pave the way for the enactment of the adoption and foster care regulations”.
Mr. Alhaji Idriss Abdallah pledges his outfit’s unflinching support to see the Gender Ministry through in its quest to ensure an enhanced legal framework that provides adequate safeguards with the protection of rights of children.
In attendance were representatives from the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Judicial Service, the Attorney General’s Department, Civil Society Organizations and other key stakeholders.
Source: Ghana/Ourblurbonline.com/Joseph Kobla Wemakor
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