CSOs In Foster Care And Adoptions

The African Development Programme (ADP) in collaboration with Holt International Children’s Services, USA (HICS) have jointly organized a meeting for civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in Foster Care and Adoptions. The meeting, held in Accra on 19th July, 2017 was to consolidate gains made towards setting up a working group to support the efforts of Government to address the problems within the sector

CSOs In Foster Care And AdoptionsThe meeting was necessary to discuss ways by which non-state actors can complement the efforts of state actors like the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection through the department of Social Welfare, Central Adoptions Authority and Department of Children in strengthening the implementation of national policies (Children’s Act of 1998 (Act 560) and Amendment Act of 2016 (Act 937)) created purposely for the protection of children.

The Acting Executive Director of ADP Charles Othniel Abbey noted that the absence of an identifiable group involved in the specialized area of foster care and adoption leaves a yawning gap as to how the Ministry can effectively engage with same for ideas and experience sharing.

On her part, Mrs Emily Akotia, Head of the Central Adoptions Authority noted that the Ministry was literally fighting a battle with unscrupulous individuals and organizations on the issues surrounding foster care and adoptions. She asserted that a working group in this area was very necessary to coordinate efforts to help make the country meet the standards under the Hague Convention.

Charles Abbey, Senior Executive of Holt International Children’s Services responsible for Africa and Haiti, was optimistic that a group of this nature had kick started. This he believed will evolve, hold a strong footing and represent an identifiable group that will make positive contributions as well as inspiring state actors to craft down to earth policies for the protection of children in foster care and adoptions. He cautioned that the structure of the working group be given serious attention as it holds the central point of remaining relevant in the CSO-state relationship and management.

The issues discussed highlighted on the structural operations of CSOs at the national, regional and district levels, membership, incorporation, development communication, trainings for key stakeholders, proactive outreaches, next lines of actions etc. A proposed name was also adopted (FosCA- Foster Care and Adoption) pending further review.

Participants in their remarks were hopeful that the working group has come at the right time that Ghana has acceded to the Hague Convention. For them, it was an opportunity to support government to eliminate those undesirable practices in the alternative child care service delivery system.

A steering committee was inaugurated to provide leadership to the working group. This comprised the Executive Directors of African Development Programme (also hosting the Secretariat), Bethany Ghana and OAfrica.

Key stakeholders in the field were present to share ideas and experiences on the best possible ways to kick start a move like this as it offers a fine opportunity to contribute towards effective care and protection of children in foster care and adoptions. Notable among them were Bethany Christian Services, Royal Seed Orphanage and Home, O-Africa, SOS Children’s Villages and the Central Adoptions Authority under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

The group will meet again to further the discussions before October 2017.