Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday urged the government to either take over the running of residential homes for children in the country or adequately resource the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) which duty is to monitor the activities of these orphanages so that the children are well taken care of.
The appeal had come on the heels of a report that 23 children in eight orphanages could not be accounted for.
The MPs made the appeal in Parliament yesterday when they discussed the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the performance audit report of the Auditor General on the regulation of Residential Homes for Children (RHC), otherwise known as orphanages, by the Department of Social Welfare.
It was established in the PAC report that many of the homes were operating without licences while adoption of children in those homes did not go through the required procedure.
The Member of Parliament for Keta, Richard Quashigah, was worried that the report indicated that 23 children in eight out of the 10 homes visited could not be accounted for, with the home managers explaining that they (children) had been re-united with their families.
The Keta MP said the explanation given by the managers could be suspicious since adoption of children from those homes was on the increase.
He therefore urged the government to properly look into these matters and verify whether indeed the children re-united with their families or not.
He said children are assets of the state, even though they belong to families, and therefore it is the duty of the government to take these matters concerning the abuse of children very seriously.
The MP for Atwima Nwabiagya North, Benito Owusu-Bio, said it was time government took over the running of these residential homes for children, adding that private persons who run them are doing that for their personal benefits and not for the benefit of the children under their care.
“These private persons come to operate these homes under the guise of running NGOs and make money out of that,” he said, adding that all private homes must be banned.
The report said the orphanages are required by guidelines for operation in Ghana to prepare and submit annual reports to the Department of Social Welfare in which they are to give information such as name of the residential home, location, postal address, aims and objectives; but most of these homes have failed to do that, which is against the law.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr