Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, has urged parents to be alive to their obligations in the upbringing and development of their children.
He said state institutions like the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, could only complement their efforts rather than play a lead role as pertained before.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur made the call when he launched the Child and Family Welfare Policy in Accra.
The new policy was supervised by a National Advisory Committee on Child Protection, made up of representatives from government, civil society organizations, religious groups, traditional rulers and children, provides a framework for child and family welfare system for better protection of children against violence, abuse and exploitation.
The drafting process involved extensive consultations with a broad range of stakeholders at national, regional, district and community levels, to reflect national priorities and aspirations. Over 7,000 people were consulted on the policy.
The programme which was organized by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, with sponsorship from UNICEF, was attended by civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and school children.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur stated that the new policy recognized the national and international legal position that parents and families were the primary care-givers of the child, while the State provided the needed support.
He said the policy would continue to use the structures of the family, the community, traditional and religious leaders, civil society and non-governmental organizations, as the front line mechanisms to protect children.
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, stated that the development of the policy by government was a result of the realization by the Country’s Development partners for the need to strengthen child protection system in the country.
She said in line with new thinking on strengthening the country’s system to protect and promote the wellbeing of children, two main studies were undertaken by the government of Ghana and its partners, namely, a Mapping and Analysis studies and the Child Protection Baseline Research.
She said the studies highlighted a more fundamental challenge that lied in the wide disconnect between the legal provisions in place and community approaches to dealing with child and family welfare issues.
Nana Oye Lithur also stated that the research questioned whether the structures and approaches in the current formal system were in fact feasible and appropriate to the Ghanaian context and culture, as more people relied on the community-based system to address child protection issues.
She said the current policy laid the foundation for an effective child protection system in the country, and built on existing structures for increased responsiveness to the needs of children and better protection from harm and exploitation.
She also stated that the new policy promoted stronger coordination among partners, such as government institutions, civil society organizations, traditional authorities, families and communities, as they played their complimentary roles in child protection issues.
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