Regulating the traditional kinship care practice in Ghana: Reflections from young people with kinship care experience

Alhassan Abdullah, Ebenezer Cudjoe, Susan Young, Anna W.M. Choi, Lucy P. Jordan, Marcus Y.L. Chiu, Clifton R. Emery - Child: Care, Health and Development



Kinship care has become a favourable alternative care option for orphans and vulnerable children without adequate parental care in Ghana. However, kinship care practices in Ghana are considered informal cultural practices without formal regulations. The absence of formal regulations could have consequences on the health and development of children due to the lack of proper supervision and empirical assessment of children's needs. In line with recent policy discussions on mechanisms to regulate informal kinship care practices, this study aimed to identify how the State could be involved in improving kinship care experience for children.


Qualitative in‐depth interviews were conducted with 22 young persons (aged 18–23) who had been received into kinship care to share their experiences on how the State could be involved in improving kinship care experience for children. Narratives from the young people were analysed following the constructivist grounded theory approach.


Introduction of a welfare scheme for kinship caregivers, policy on child care, provision of start‐up capital and training for caregivers, were measures suggested by the young people to improve kinship care practice. Providing start‐up capital to kinship caregivers was identified to mitigate caregivers' unemployment challenges, which could have ripple effects on the well‐being of children by escalating caregiver stress.


The study's findings suggest that the State has a significant role to ensure that caregivers are equipped with the needed resources to provide adequate care for children. Regulating kinship care practices should embrace a strength‐based empowerment model that builds on the capacity of the caregivers to ensure better outcomes for children. Studies that explore the views of policy makers and caregivers in a larger sample may yield promising results to complement the current findings.