• Dakoa Newman (right), Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, addressing the participants. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
• Dakoa Newman (right), Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, addressing the participants. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

‘Every child must grow in safe, nurturing environment’

“Every child must grow up in a safe, nurturing environment, with the opportunity to thrive and contribute to their families, communities and our shared future as a nation”, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dakoa Newman, has said.


In line with that, she said existing systems must be strengthened to prevent unnecessary separation of children from their biological families, and also ensure that alternative care placements, including adoption, were truly in a child's best interest.

The minister was speaking at a national conference on strengthening child protection and alternative care in the country in Accra on Thursday, on the theme: "Strengthening child protection and alternative care in Ghana".

It was aimed at developing effective strategies and approaches for the protection of children in the country. 


Ms Newman said the country had made some significant strides in the enhancement of child protection and alternative care through a robust legal framework and dedicated policy initiatives developed and implemented by the government with support from its partners, notably UNICEF. 

She said as the first country to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, the nation had upheld children's rights domestically, leading to some improvements in access to education, healthcare and social services.

The minister, however, said despite the successes chalked up over the years, violence against children remained a daily reality across the country. 

She mentioned physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children as some of the violations that were widespread in homes, schools and communities, adding that perpetrators often went unpunished due to the lack of adequate support services for victims. 

“For example, corporal punishment is still entrenched in our traditional norms without regard of the harm it causes many children such as physical injuries, emotional trauma and even death,” the minister said.

On child trafficking, UNICEF asserts that of all children in the country aged five to 17 years, about 21 per cent, were involved in child labour, while 14 per cent were into hazardous forms of labour, she added. 


A representative of SOS Promoting and Supporting Association (PSA) Netherlands, a CSO, Marijke Acket, said in many parts of the world, social norms and cultural practices continued to undermine the rights of children, making it even more difficult to ensure their safety and well-being. 

She, therefore, said there was the need for effective policies to protect children.

The National Director of SOS Children's Villages in Ghana, Alexander Mar Kekula, said their support system had been significant in the 50 years of their existence in the country, contributing positively to the transformation of more than 4,500 lives.

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