Social Welfare Department shuts down over 60 ‘illegal’ orphanages

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The Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social protection, has shut down over sixty orphanages in the country.

Some of the orphanages were closed down for operating without a licence from the Social Welfare Department, whiles others were operating below the required standards.

Speaking to the media, Yvonne Norman, Coordinator of the Care Reform Initiative of the Department, said those who fail to adhere to laid down rules will be dealt with according to law.

“The fact is those homes that have just been closed down are the least you saw. Not all the names were mentioned. With some, they actually wanted to do good but they were misinformed. It is not that they actually set up and harbour children and use them. They ended up taking care of children who actually needed help but just they were using the wrong processes. We have those category of people who actually opened those homes and strictly handled the children.”

She further mentioned that vulnerable children who have been affected by the closure have been relocated to other licensed caregivers.

“Some of them were operating without the licenses; some were closed down because they were below our national standards in operating residential homes – the conditions in the home were below standards. Some of these have been earmarked for closure. A lot of them (orphans) have been unified with their families, and some have been moved to other homes that have been licensed.”

Supervision of children’s homes

In the specific case of children’s homes,  the Department is mandated to regulate the operations of these institutions through the enforcement of the guidelines for the registration and operation of these establishments.

In connection with the above, the Department is required to undertake sustained monitoring of the activities of children’s homes, in order to safeguard the interest and well-being of the children involved.

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