The Department of Social Welfare has identified 345 hot spots across the country where street children and other destitutes are located.
The hot spots were identified under a programme dubbed: “Operation Get Off the Streets For Better Life” initiated by the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare to get children off the streets and support them for a better future.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Department of Social Welfare, Maame Efua Cann, said after the location of the hot spots, the department had begun gathering data on the children and other persons found at those places so that together they can fashion out the best way to help them out of their current situation.
For instance, she said in Accra, the data collected were being analysed, adding that after the analyses, a mop up exercise would be carried out to ensure that no child was left out.
“In collecting the data, we take their names, dates of birth, hometowns and their telephone numbers if they have one. We also find out what they do for a living; whether it’s begging or hawking,” she said.
Miss Cann explained that the department would try to locate the families of the children located in the hot spots so as to reunite them with their families and offer support to set them up.
“We would also find out whether they would want to go back to school depending on their educational background or whether they want to learn a trade or undergo vocational training”, she added.
This strategy, she said, would be undertaken together with the Ministry of Education and the Council for Technical and Vocational Education Training (COTVET).”
In addition to this intervention, she said there would be behavioural and counselling services for children and their families under the operation.
The PRO pointed out that the home environment was the best for all children and not the streets because children could learn social vices and other bad practices there.
The first phase of the operation, Miss Cann said was for five years after which an assessment would be carried out to look at its success.
Meanwhile, tomorrow, April 12, is International Day for Street Children.
The day provides the platform for millions of children on the streets around the world to speak out so that their rights would not be trampled on.
It also serves as an opportunity for nations to reflect on the plights of street children, assess programmes and interventions for their development and devise strategies for the future.