Ghana Department of Social Welfare Foster Care Operational Manual

UNICEF Ghana, Department of Social Welfare of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection


Foster care provides a family-based setting for children whose biological family is unable or unwilling to care for them. Foster care is the least restrictive formal alternative care option for children in need of care, providing a family life for children who cannot live with their own parents. As with all alternative care arrangements, the goal of foster care is reunification; returning the child to their home as soon as the problems that caused them to come into foster care have been resolved and it is clear that their parents are able to look after them safely. However, in some cases children may need to stay in long-term foster care, be adopted, or move on to live independently.

The Children’s (Amendment) Act, 2016 strengthens legislative provisions pertaining to formal foster care arrangements in Ghana.

The purpose of this Foster Care Operational Manual is to provide guidance to Department of Social Welfare (DSW) officers and Foster Care Agencies on the delivery of foster care services in line with the Children’s Amendment Act, 2016 and Foster Care Regulations 2018.

The Foster Care Manual is structured as follows:

  • Section 2 describes the legal basis for foster care in Ghana.
  • Section 3 provides a description of foster care, including the definition, types of foster care and advantages of foster care over residential/institutional care.
  • Section 4 outlines the goal, objectives and guiding principles of foster care in Ghana.
  • Section 5 explains the roles and responsibilities of the National, Regional and District Departments of DSW and Foster Care Agencies in the provision of foster care services
  • Section 6 deals with the processes and procedures for the recruitment, licencing and retention of foster parents.
  • Section 7 addresses the steps in the placement of children in foster care.
  • Section 8 looks at the processes and procedures in licencing Foster Care Agencies.
  • Section 9 deals with the Foster Care Fund.
  • Section 10 covers the requirements for record keeping and reporting on children in foster care and foster care services.
  • Annex include a template for the Home Study Investigation/Report and Tools for monitoring foster parents and children in foster care.