The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Monday presented four motorbikes, tablets and projects vehicles valued at GHC154,950.00 to the Social Welfare Department of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

The presentation is to help strengthen Social Welfare workforce capacities of the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and forms part of the National Care Reform Initiative (CRI) rollout programme signed in July 2016 and implemented by the DSW.

The CRI, which was launched in 2007 by the then New Patriotic Party Government, has the objectives of transforming the care sector by promoting family reintegration of children already in residential homes, de-emphasizing the over-reliance on institutional care and shifting towards a range of integrated family and community-based care services for children without appropriate parental care.

Among the goals of the CRI is to see to the establishment of a more consistent and stable approach to caring for vulnerable children in Ghana so that each child would be assured of a permanent home in a supportive and loving family.

The CRI has prevention of family separation through the conditional cash transfer programme LEAP, reintegrating children back with their family or extended family, placement of the child within a foster family and adoption as some of the key components.

Speaking at the ceremony to mark the presentation, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection said the items would contribute to the professionalization of social work in Ghana.

It would also support the government of Ghana to develop formal gate-keeping structures to prevent the unnecessary admission and readmission of children into residential care popularly called orphanages and children’s homes, she said.

Madam Afisa Djaba noted that the presentation which formed part of government and development partner’s commitments would improve upon the safety, well-being and development of vulnerable children who through no fault of theirs found themselves in orphanages and children’s homes.

“From the programme implementation letter with the USAID, the four bikes are to be used in four selected districts in four regions namely Greater Accra, Central, Volta and Eastern in which the 2010 SOP which is undergoing a revision will be piloted when completed.

“This means a lot is expected from you as you will be required to provide updates and regular data and information from your routine monitoring visits to homes in respective districts of the regions,” she said.

The sector Minister observed that in addition to the motorbikes, the social welfare workers would be supported with monthly fuel coupons in order to ensure that they perform the gate-keeping functions on monitoring, supervision and inspection of RHC in order to endure compliance to the standards as contained in the 2010 Standard Operations Procedure Manuals.

“Through this support you are also expected to play key roles in the piloting of SOP, play your professional backstopping functions to homes or orphanages that have been licensed as well as make prompt recommendations for the appropriate action on homes that are not adhering to the required standards including closures,” she said.

She thanked USAID for their gesture that would help to respond to the needs of children in the various homes or orphanages.

Mr Alexis D. Dery, the Technical Coordinator of CIR, said through the donation the five year programme would be effectively carried out and would help support the monitoring role of social workers and more importantly reporting on children leaving residential homes to children’s homes.

Mr Benjamain A. Otto, the Social Welfare Director, said the kit would help enhance and sustain the works of the officers.

He appealed for assistance that would help the works of social workers in others regions.

Source: GNA/Newsghana.com.gh