The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) has said that it does not sell babies or children and has, therefore, cautioned unsuspecting people who are made to part with money in a bid to adopt children from the department.
The DSW said it was a criminal offence to exchange money for a human being and thus warned people who wanted to be parents through adoption to be wary of being lured into committing a crime in their desperation to be parents.
Addressing a gathering to commemorate this year's International Day of the Family in Accra yesterday, the Director of DSW, Rev. Dr Mrs Comfort Asare, said the agency's attention had been drawn to some allegations that some parents to be were being made to part with money, unfortunately by some unscrupulous staff of the department in exchange for promises of facilitating the process of adoption.
“I want to inform the whole country that we do not sell babies or children. There are processes to follow if you want to adopt a child in this country.
“Do not pay any money to anybody claiming to be working in our outfit in exchange for a child, it is a criminal offence that could see you being prosecuted if caught,” the DSW Director emphasised.
International Day of the Family
On May 15, 1993, the United Nations instituted the International Day of Family by the United Nations (UN) to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
The theme for this year's commemoration is: “Maintaining our roots: strengthening families in a changing world,” and it was organised with support from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
This year, the celebration was geared towards providing families and parents with the necessary tools towards integrating a healthy digital cultural capital within their daily family life.
The occasion brought together stakeholders including parents, teachers and children. Discussions were held on the need for parents and extended family members to work together to build ties and bonds in order not to break down the family system.
Discussants also deliberated on factors such as urbanisation and poverty which were having serious effects on the extended family. There were also discussions on how parents could cater for their children in order that they do not become a burden on society.
Dr Mrs Asare explained that currently, the Central Adoption Authority at the Department of Social Welfare was mandated to provide for the conduct of all adoptions in the country.
The Authority, set up under the Children's (Amendment) Act, 2016, (Act 937) has three major structures, namely the Adoption Board, Technical Committee and the Adoption Secretariat.
The board recommends policies and programmes and the technical committee, made up of professionals, reviews and decides on adoption applications from home and abroad.
If approved, a clearance letter is issued to the applicant to proceed to court for a legal adoption order to process the adoption.
“At Social Welfare, we only facilitate the process of adoption which includes processing and other administrative fees which have already been determined by the state. In all, you are supposed to pay about GH¢3,000. Meanwhile, some are made to pay about GH¢20,000, and that is criminal,” she added.
For applicants who are either within or outside the country interested in adopting any child, Dr Mrs Asare said adoption forms from the Social Welfare offices in all the regions went for only GH¢70, and nothing beyond that.
Impact of technology on families
In his address, the Country Director of the CRS, Mr Daniel Mumuni, said technology had impacted on families positively and negatively.
He said the experiences learnt from the coronavirus pandemic should teach families to make good use of technology and not abuse it.
Some of the discussants also pointed out the need for parents to pay particular attention to their children to prevent them from being abused on the Internet and on other technological gadgets.
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