Ghana Changes Approach to Childcare, Shifts Focus on Finding Families Rather Than Orphanages

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services via Facebook)

The government of Ghana is changing its approach to childcare through the Care Reform. The renewed focus on families rather than orphanages has been shaped through partnership with Bethany Christian Services and Ghana Without Orphans.

Changing the Approach

The idea is simple; keep vulnerable kids with families not institutions. Those families can take the form of foster homes, adoptions, or reunification. Home-based solutions offer children a better chance at success and improved emotional well being.

Bethany brought foster care expertise and a good reputation thanks to a successful Ethiopian program, says Naa Adjorkor Mohenu, Country Director of Bethany Ghana. The partnership begain in 2012. Now, the nonprofit is an integral part of policy change, providing needed technical support.

“We became very core in the government’s process with the care reform system… As we speak now, Bethany has been able to help the government launch, it’s foster care training model, which has all the steps in training perspective foster care,” Mohenu says.

What’s Wrong with Institutions/Orphanages?

The Bible asks believers to care for widows and orphans, but what is the best form care can take? While food, water, and shelter are necessities, so is emotional support, love, and a family.

Orphanages aren’t always able to support these pillars of development, and the resulting damage is often permanent. Research shows caregivers are often detached, overworked and not consistent. This results in children with stunted physical and emotional growth, issues that persist into adulthood. Read a summary of these findings here.

Of particular concern to the government of Ghana was that many of these children in orphanages were not actually orphans.

“They did a survey and realize that most of the children…either have one parent, a living parent or even have both parents alive, but were rather taking these children into the orphanages because to them the orphanage looked like they had the best physical facilities to provide for their children,” Mohenu says.

For families in poverty, orphanages looked like a way to give their children the best chance at life. Realizing what was happening, Ghana determined major changes would need to be made to reform the childcare system before the problem got out of hand.

Enter Bethany and their ideas to promote family based care.

Click here to ready more.

SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kali Katerberg

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