Performance Audit Report of the Auditor General on the Regulation of Residential Homes for Children (Orphanages) by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW)

Ghana Audit Service, Republic of Ghana

The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in Ghana manages the activities of Residential Homes for Children (RHCs) to ensure that orphans and vulnerable children in Ghana are protected and cared for when they are placed in institutions. In recent years, the number of orphanages in Ghana has increased, as have reports of abuse, molestation, and neglect in these residential homes and many orphanages in the country are alleged to be operating below the basic standards set by the DSW.

This study, therefore, was conducted to determine whether the regulation of the operations of RHCs under the DSW is sufficiently ensuring care and protection of children living in institutions. The audit team found that DSW had not properly regulated the RHCs in Ghana, such that the lives of these children were at risk. The team found that DSW had not licensed 96% of RHCs operating in the four sampled regions, they did not have the required data on RHCs in the sampled regions, the DSW was not inspecting RHCs or monitoring their operations, and the department was not able to ensure effective supervision of the RHCs as most of the homes were not formally registered and recognised.

The team recommended that DSW require all operating RHCs apply for licenses and that the department administer screenings to ensure that the RHCs meet the requirements. Those RHCs that do not meet requirements, says the audit, should be closed down. Furthermore, the audit team recommended that DSW carry out periodic educational campaigns so that RHC operators are aware of the requirements and procedures for opening and operating a facility, including obtaining approval for operation and reporting data to the DSW.