By Our Correspondent
In a bid to create a better life for its future generation, the Ogun State government, through the ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has stepped-up measures in improving the welfare of children across the state.
In partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria, the ministry had a-3day capacity building and Stakeholders’ engagement programme with the theme “No Child should Grow Up Alone”. At the end of the event which was held at the IBD International Hotel, Abeokuta from 28 to 30 November, 2017, it called for implementation of Alternative Care for children in the state who have lost or at the risk of losing parental care as well as X-raying the challenges and the steps to improving alternative care measures in Ogun State.
In a communique issued at the end of the programme, the ministry, noted: there are gaps in the funding for alternative care of children without adequate parental care, there is the relevance of orphanages and children’s homes in the state child care system, there is a gap in parenting for many children regardless of care being provided by families of origin or alternative family settings, there is no framework that caters for the holistic care and protection of Children living with disability, there are capacity gaps in the provision of quality child care, and protection remains a crucial challenge within the state and the Child Rights Law signed in 2013 is not readily accessible to stakeholders.
Amongst others, the meeting resolved on the need to strengthen collaboration and networking among all stakeholders providing care for children in the state, to improve the quality of care for children.
This is even as it maintained that there is a need to continue to advocate for improved budgeting and funding for the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the Family Courts and other parastatals involved in child care and protection, while charging the stakeholders to endeavor to study the Child Rights Law and other guidelines to understand its provisions and roles as contained therein.
Other resolutions include: regulation of the operations of homes to ensure that standards of child care are maintained, adequate publicity of the Ogun State Child Rights Law 2013 across the state to all stakeholders, the need for the existing case management system in the state to be harmonized, validated and used by all stakeholders involved in the provision of alternative care to children, the need for establishment of more family courts and ensure functionality of same, and monitoring unit of the ministry of women affairs and social development/other stakeholders should be adequately resourced to carryout it duties in order to ensure standards are adhered to in the state.
Others are the need to explore and fully implement various options of alternative care; emphasis on improving child care and parenting skills across the state, developing and fully implementing a framework for the quality care of children living with disability, and for the ministry of information to be involved in continued sensitization of the public and all stakeholders on the Child Rights Law and implementation of alternative care in the state.
The event was attended by at least 98 stakeholders from the Ministry of Women Affairs, the State Judiciary, Police, Immigration, Owners of Care Homes, The Child Protection Network, the Media amongst others.