General News of Sunday, 2 July 2017
THE Ashanti Regional Office of the Department of Children, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has partnered a gender-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Defence for Children International Ghana (DCI-Ghana), to sensitise assembly members and members of child advisory committees in the assemblies on the child welfare policy.
The assembly members, drawn from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly, are expected to adopt best practices from the policy to protect the rights of children.
At the sensitisation programme in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Director of the Department of Children, Pastor Stephen Darfuor, said there was the need to stop child abuse and protect the rights of children, especially the girl-child from labour and early marriage.
He said assembly members had first-hand information on their communities and so were expected to quickly report cases of child abuse to the appropriate quarters and law enforcement agencies for redress.
He said the current child welfare policy has reformed and consolidated the law relating to children’s rights, their maintenance, adoption and adjustments in child labour and apprenticeship for children.
He urged the assembly members and the members of the advisory committees to collaborate with traditional authorities to deal with the challenges facing children and report abusive cases.
He also lauded DCI-Ghana for the partnership and urged it not to relent in its efforts to eliminate child rights abuse.
The role of assembly members
The Executive Director of DCI-Ghana, Dr George Oppong, said the partnership must aim at making positive contributions to the contents of the Child Welfare Policy and the Children’s Act.
He stressed the need for the participants to know their roles and to help mobilise resources for the welfare of children in their localities.
He observed that religious intolerance and some traditional and cultural observances conflicted with provisions in the policy and urged that these must be addressed in due course to ensure that children’s rights were effectively protected.
He said the inadequacy of resources allocated for children’s rights protection or for children’s rights advisory committees was a hindrance and did not allow state agencies to implement effective programmes and policies on child rights protection.