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09.04.2006 Regional News

Social Welfare to sanction homes that flouted laws

By GNA

Odupong Ofaakor (C/R), April 9, GNA - The Department of Social Welfare will not hesitate to close down Homes that do not ensure the safety of the orphans.

Mr George F. Acquah, Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Director of the Department, gave the warning at the commissioning of a three-classroom block with an office and store estimated at 250 million cedis for the Good Shepherd Orphanage at Odupong Ofaakor in the Central Region. The School was constructed with funds solicited for in the Netherlands by a Dutch Teaching and Project Abroad Volunteer, Mr Eric Van De.

Mr Acquah pointed out that Section 105(2) of the Children's Act enjoined Orphanages to obtain certificates of recognition and operational licenses from the Department and have safe and satisfactory, spatial and sleeping arrangements for the children with adequate facilities to meet their health needs.

He called on operators of Homes to ensure that the children under their care had access to education and to submit their orphanage for periodic inspection by official of the Department of Social Welfare. Mr Acquah noted that some Home operators flouted the law but only took advantage of the financial and other benefits they could accrue from such venture.

He stated that it was a government policy to establish day-care centres for the children of working parents and correctional centres for the reformation of wayward young people and remand homes to provide safety for juvenile offenders.

Mr Acquah explained that no child should be confined to an orphanage for his or her entire life and stated that they should not stay in a home for more than five years. He pointed out, however, that the family was the best place for the child and said if the family had been broken by death, separation or whatever cause, an alternative arrangement close to a family should be found.

The District Director called for the establishment of child placement committees for orphanages to oversee the re-integration of the child into the community, saying the admission and release of children from homes should be done through the Department of Social Welfare. Bishop Kweku Addei, Founder of the Home, said there were 304 children in the orphanage started in 2004 and had a nursery and a primary school.

He praised Mr Van De who he said was touched by the plight of the children and mobilised funds abroad for the project. Bishop Addei, who is also the Founder and Leader of the Great Word of God Church, said the school had awarded a one-year fee free education for children from the Ofaakor, Gada, Papase and Mankomeda communities in the district He appealed to the District Assembly for assistance to extend electricity and water to the school.

Mr Kwesi Esseku, Presiding Member of the District Assembly, praised Bishop Addei for establishing the school and the home and said the government and District Assemblies alone could not shoulder the problem of education hence private participation to ensure that every Ghanaian child had access to quality education. 09 April 06

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