Deinstitutionalization of Children in Residential Care Facilities: Experiences and Perceptions of Professionals in Ghana

Kwabena Frimpong-Manso, Ebenezer Cudjoe, Pascal Agbadi, Alhassan Abdullah, Antoine Deliege, Avantee Bansal

According to the literature, the success of deinstitutionalization (DI) practices in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is dependent on key factors including, a well-functioning family-based alternative care and social protection system, adequate funding and resources, and professional and other stakeholders' engagement and support. Following a practice research qualitative method, the study explored practitioner's experiences and perceptions on the status of Ghana's ongoing DI efforts and their recommendations for improving implementation.

The study's main themes were establishing the need for residential homes for children (RHCs), RHCs not being an ideal family environment and RHCs as respite. Family marital problems, poor financial situation, stigma attached to some children in care, abusive parents and a lack of suitable alternatives when families have a crisis were identified as key factors that impede DI implementation in Ghana.

The findings suggest the need for a progressive approach towards DI implementation in LMICs, with the first step being the re-positioning of RHCs as respite care centres while progressively developing other alternative family-based care options (such as kinship care) for children.

Child and Family Social Work Journal