The Department of Social Welfare says its investigations into the operations of private orphanages have revealed that some of the children assembled there are not orphans and are used to solicit money for selfish interests.
Director of Social Welfare, Mary Amadu, disclosed this in a speech read on her behalf at a two-day training workshop on data collection for district social welfare officers and assistants in the southern sector at the Bunso Cocoa College, in the Eastern Region.
Mrs Amadu declared that “this shameful exploitation of children must stop now,” and urged the officers to work hard to strengthen families to cater for their own children.
“Let us stick to our policy that institutional care is the last resort,” she added.
She said the aim of the data collection programme is to enable the department to close down orphanages that are not supposed to operate and the children in such homes reintegrated into their families especially those whose parents could be traced.
The Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Akosua Frema Osei Opare, stressed the need for a proper legislation to govern the registration of NGOs and community-based organizations, especially orphanages and children homes.
“Orphanages and children homes should not be registered as ordinary NGOs but must comply with a law which requires them to be gazetted as such,” she said.
She said the cultural, social and economic practices of some of the NGOs had clearly shown that they did not have any interest in the affairs of the nation.
She noted that at the moment there was no accurate information about the number of orphanages in the country and the number of children in such homes.
“The reasons why the children were brought there are not known to anybody,” she said. She said, the government had realizing the importance of the Social Welfare Department in the development of the nation, has made adequate provisions for the sector in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II.
Mrs Opare Osei therefore advised the officers not to sit at their offices and collect figures, but have proper profile of the children on which the government can rely.
The workshop attracted 100 officers from the Greater Accra, Eastern, Western, Central and the Volta regions.