30.05.2005 Regional News

Social Welfare registers 40 children of disputed paternity

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Tamale, May 30, GNA - The Department of Social Welfare in the Northern Regional last year registered 40 children born outside marriage and of disputed paternity.

Mr Jacob Achulo, Northern Region Programme Head of Child Rights of the Department, who disclosed this to the GNA on Monday in Tamale, stated that the men believed to be responsible for the pregnancies said they disowned the children because their mothers were unfaithful.

He said 20 "custody cases" were also recorded during the period because it had not been decided as to whether the children should stay with their mothers or fathers thereby creating dispute between the parents. Mr Achulo also said 116 family welfare cases, 10 cases of violence against women, 17 family reconciliation cases, four forced marriages, four streetism cases and 38 family maintenance cases had been recorded. He said last year, 33 youths were given vocational skills under the Skills Training and Employable Programme (STEP).

Mr Achulo said of the about 217 disabled persons registered, some were sent to institutions where their services were needed while others were referred for medical attention.

He expressed worry that family cohesion was becoming weak as some people were not responsible for the welfare of their children and families.

Mr Achulo said parental neglect had resulted in many children becoming vulnerable to crime, a situation that could have serious implication for the development of the country. He, however, noted that some parents due to poverty had not been able to adequately maintain their families, especially their children, affecting their well-being.

Mr Achulo called on the government and non-governmental organisations to provided credit for the people saying: "The family is the building block of every society and so if the families are developed and disciplined, society too will be developed and disciplined".

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