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Ghana

Demographic Data

  • Total Population: 26.79 million
  • Population under 15: 39%
  • Life Expectancy at Birth: 61 years
  • Human Development Index: 140 out of 188
  • World Bank Status: Lower middle income
  • HIV/AIDS Prevalence: 1.5%
  • Mean Household Composition: 3.5 members
  • Female-Headed Households: 34%
  • Early Marriage (% of children married by 18 years): 21%

Sources: World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP HDR 2015, DHS 2014

Demographic Data

Demographic Data

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43.5
Gini Coefficiency
Data source: World Bank, 2016
30.42 million
Total Population
Data source: World Bank, 2019
38.3%
Percent Population Under 18
 
Data source: 2010 Population and Housing Census
lower middle-income country
World Bank GNI Status
Data source: World Bank, 2019
0.596
Medium Human Development
Human Development Index
Data source: UNDP, 2019
23.4%
Living Below Poverty Line
 
Data source: World Bank, 2019
3.5
People
Median Household Size
Data source: DHS, 2014

Children's Living Arrangement

Children's Living Arrangements

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%
Country
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
52.5%
Living with Both Parents
 
Data source: MICS 2017/18
21.8%
Living with Mother Only
 
Data source: MICS 2017/18
i
Living with mother only (father alive)
3.8%
Living with Father Only
 
Data source: MICS 2017/18
i
Living with Father only (Mother alive)
16.6%
Living with Neither Parent
 
Data source: MICS 2017/18
%
Effective
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN

Children Living without Biological Parent

Children Living Without Biological Parents

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- - %
Living in Kinship Care
 
NO DATA AVAILABLE
i
Kinship care remains the oldest form of alternative care in Ghana. Traditional practices such as the zuguliem encouraged relatives to step in and provide care for children without caregivers. Furthermore, inspired by the principles of altruism and communal interdependence, community members believed care for orphans was their responsibility. As such, children without biological parents could always count on two adult parent figures for nurturing and guidance. While kinship care has been recognized globally and widely accepted by the Ghanaian tradition, existing legal and policy frameworks do not fully recognize it. However, given the recent interest to deinstitutionalize care and reintegrate children into family-based care, it has emerged as the preferable option . Kinship care in Ghana remains unregulated as the transfer of children is usually done informally with little or no supervision from the DWS. There is no system to register kinship care providers and staff at the Department of Social Welfare have not received the requisite training to monitor children under this care. In addition, Government funding to support the implementation of kinship care components has been inadequate. The Care Reforms Initiative aimed to reintegrate the children living in RCFs to either their parents or a relative. However, the reintegration has been slow. Many studies have investigated reasons underpinning this. Families who took the responsibility to accept additional children into the family have been left impoverished since there is no support from government or institutions for such vulnerable families, as such many of them are unwilling to take on this added responsibility. Furthermore, the process of transfer to kinship care has been done with little or no consultation with the children so they ended up in families who were unprepared to accept them. As a result, children who underwent such forms of care have reported abuse, lack of emotional support from caregivers and educational neglect. Cudjoe, E., Abdullah, A., & Chiu, M. Y. (2020). Experiences of Children in Kinship Care (CKC) in Ghana: Challenges for Cultural Practices. Journal of Family Issues, 0192513X20921523.
- - %
Living in Kinship Care With One Parent Dead
 
NO DATA AVAILABLE
- - %
Living in Kinship Care With Both Parents Dead
 
NO DATA AVAILABLE
- - %
Living in Foster Care
 
NO DATA AVAILABLE
i
201 children are currently living in formal foster care (103 male, 98 female) as of Nov 2020. Foster care is an emerging form of care gaining traction in Ghana. The latest version of the Child and Family Welfare Policy prioritizes foster care (MOGCSP, 2014). The Children (Amendment) Act, 2016 has been amended to incorporate foster care regulations and a regional committee to oversee implementation (Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, 2018). Additionally, the Department of Social Welfare has established the Foster Care Unit, although this is yet to be fully functional. the Foster Care Unit trained the Foster Care Committee in all regions, developed a foster parent training manual and licensed over 544 parents and placed 201 children in foster care. Despite these successes, challenges around financing, service delivery, work force and monitoring and evaluation remain. The Department of Social Welfare recently developed the national foster care standards but its operationalization and implementation is yet to happen. Comprehensive guidance on monitoring and reporting to support data collection on foster care providers and children is also yet to be developed.

Children at Risk of Separation

Children at Risk of Separation

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28.2%
Children living below poverty line
 
Data source: National Development Planning Commission, 2020
i
Raw data from Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS7)
Children affected by HIV
26000
Children
Data source: UNAIDS
i
*Children aged 0 to 14 living with HIV
Street Connected Children
61492
Children
Data source: Department of Social Welfare. 2011. Census on street children in Greater Accra Region, Ghana
i
In 2011, a census of street-connected children was conducted by the Department of Social Welfare in the Greater Accra Region. This census counted a total of 61,492 street children. In 2019, it is estimated that close to 100,000 children in Greater Accra along, with a large number of them being forced to beg on the streets (Participatory Development Associates. 2020. The State of Child Protection in Ghana)
94%
Children experiencing violence
 
Data source: MICS 2017/18
i
Percentage of children age 1-14 years who experienced some form of violent discipline

Formal Alternative Care Arrangements

Formal Alternative Care Arrangements

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Settings
Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Settings
Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Formal Family-Based Care
- - Settings
- - Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Foster Care
544 Settings
201 Children
i
201 children are currently living in formal foster care (103 male, 98 female). 544 foster parents have been trained and licensed by DSW (90 male and 454 female).
Data source: Department of Social Welfare, Nov 2020
Kinship Care
- - Settings
- - Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Formal Residential Care
141 Settings
3530 Children
i
According to DSW (Nov 2020), there are currently 3856 children in residential care
Data source: Department of Social Welfare and UNICEF, Children Living in Residential Care in Ghana: Findings from a survey of well-being, DSW and UNICEF, New York, 2020
Institutions
0 Settings
0 Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Residential
0 Settings
0 Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN

Adoption

NO DATA AVAIABLE
Country
NO SOURCE GIVEN
41
children
Domestic Adoption
Data source: Central Adoption Authority, 24 Nov 2020
i
Jan-Nov 2020
20
children
Inter-country Adoption
Data source: Central Adoption Authority, 24 Nov 2020
i
Jan-Nov 2020
NO DATA AVAIABLE
Effective
NO SOURCE GIVEN

Key Reform Indicators/Progress Markers

Progress Indicators

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Country
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Effective
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
NO DATA AVAILABLE
Social Welfare Spending
NO SOURCE GIVEN
i
Local Ordinance Order No. 66 mandates the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) as the responsible agency to regulate and coordinate alternative care in Ghana. Guided by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Children’s Amendment Act (2016), and the Child and Family Policy, the Department of Social Welfare and its abled workforce has set in place mechanisms and programs to prevent and protect children from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Additionally, specific legislative instruments (LIs) have targeted different reforms in the department including the foster care LI (2018) 2361, Adoption Regulation (2018) LI 2360, the Social Protection Policy, and the Justice for Children Policy. The Department of Social Welfare is responsible for coordinating all activities and stakeholders involved in childcare reform including the regional and district offices. Following the approval of the Local Government Service Act 2003 and the LI 1961, the district and regional offices now report directly to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) respectively. The Government of Ghana through the MOGSCP is the primary funding source of the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection and the Department of Social Welfare’s work. Following the recent development of the National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework (NMTDPF) by the MoGSC, 97.1% (US$ 129,297,418.39) of the total budget has been budgeted for provision of social services including alternative care, 92% of which goes directly to disbursements under the LEAP and the Ghana School Feeding Program (GSFP). Donors and development partners have also played an essential role in financing alternative care activities including reforms. Of the budget targeted by the MoGSC via the NMTDPF, donors contribute 4.2% mainly in the areas of social protection (86.7%), social services (10%) and domestic violence and child trafficking (5%). Social Protection, social services and securing inclusion for disability fall into a broader subsection of social development which takes 97% of the entire budget of the MoGSCP. Major donors in the space include USAID, World Bank and UNICEF.
Alternative Care Policy in line with the 2009 Guidelines
 
Yes
Child and Family Welfare Policy. UNICEF, Government of Ghana, 2017
i
Child and Family Welfare Policy emphasizes alternative care along with the 2009 Alternative Care Guidelines. Regulations have been adopted on Adoption and Foster care. Amendments to the Children's Act have been approved that strengthen family-based care.
Centralised authority on adoption
 
Yes
Data source: DSW
i
- Amended part IV (foster care and adoption) and consequential provisions of the Children’s Act, 1998, (Act 560) by the enactment of the Children’s (Amendment) Act, 2016 Acct 937 with additional safeguards that conform to the Articles of The Hague Convention. - Ghana acceded to the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption which came into force on January 1st 2017. - Establishment of the Central Adoption Authority in 2017 and inauguration of the intersectoral Adoption Board to co-ordinate adoptions in Ghana, collaborate and co-operate with Central Authorities abroad in administering intercountry adoption among other functions imposed on it by The Hague Convention. - Adoption Regulations that came into effect on Friday 27 July 2018 to regulate adoption in Ghana and the accreditation of adoption agencies.
Commitment to Deinstitutionalistion/Reforms
 
Yes
Guidelines for Deinstitutionalisation of Residential Homes for Children. Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF, 2020
i
In 2017, DSW developed a five-year roadmap for the deinstitutionalisation of children that aims to close sub-standard residential care facilities and placed more children in foster care. In 2020, DSW developed deinstitutionalisation guidelines to assist the facilities to shift their activities to community and family strengthening.
Comprehensive child protection law
 
Yes
Children's Act 1998, (560) amended in 2016 to include foster care and adoption
Continuum of alternative care services available
 
No Data
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Data System
 
Limited
Data source: MoGCSP, 2020
i
DSW developed a system to collect data of children in formal system care (Manual for Routine Monitoring. Government of Ghana, UNICEF, USAID, Measure Evaluation, 2019) but is not effective and not able to generate regular reliable data. The MoGCSP developed and is rolling out a Social Welfare Information Management System (SWIMS) which is a case management IMS that is able to generate data of children handled by case workers including children in different care arrangement. SWIMS is being piloted and will be scaled up to 260 districts by 2023.
Existence of a regulatory body and regulatory system
 
Yes
Children’s Act, 1998, (Act 560), Foster Care Regulation (2018), Adoption Regulation (2018).
Gatekeeping mechanism/policy
 
Mostly
Children in Need of Care and Protection: Standard Operating Procedures. Government of Ghana, 2018
i
DSW developed Case Management Standard Operating Procedures for children in need of care and protection include gatekeeping mechanisms. Gatekeeping is primarily coordinated by the district social worker who ensures children are directed into the appropriate care. In line with the CRI, district social welfare officers aim to direct children to family-based care. Not so many people know about the official gatekeeping procedures, as such, informal players have over time, played a critical role in deciding the form of care a child receives. These informal actors more often than not, ignore the official procedures and process. For example, a policeman who finds a child roaming, instead of taking the child to the District Social Welfare Officer, they will show up in a care home with the child and expect the care home owners to take the child. For most social welfare officers, this situation creates another challenge where children are unregistered with the district, resulting in no follow up of children placed in alternative care.
Means of tracking progress with reforms
 
Partly
Data source: DSW, 2018
i
In 2018, DSW with stakeholders conducted an assessment of the alternative care system and developed an action plan to guide the reform
Moratorium on admission into institutions for children under 3
 
No
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Moratorium on new institutions
 
No
NO SOURCE GIVEN
National Action Plan
 
Partly
Data source: DSW, 2020
i
Since 2007, GoG launched the Care Reform Initiative which is still ongoing. In 2018, DSW with stakeholders conducted an assessment of the alternative care system and developed an action plan to guide the reform
National Standards of Care
 
Yes
National Standards for Residential Homes for Children in Ghana. Government of Ghana, UNICEF, 2018; National Standards for Foster Care in Ghana. UNICEF, Department of Social Welfare, 2020
i
In 2018, DSW revised the National Standards for Residential Care. In 2020, DSW developed National Standards for Foster Care in Ghana
Prevention of Separation Services available
 
No Data
NO SOURCE GIVEN
i
The strategic plan of the DSW aims to link the poorest families at risk of separation to the LEAP. Yet, a clear operational plan to implement this at the district level is lacking. Furthermore, for families that live slightly above the poverty line (US$ 3.2 or 18.7 Ghana Cedis) but with an increased risk of separation, LEAP is not an option. The eleventh objective of the care reform initiative reinforces the idea of linkage of vulnerable families to the LEAP; The objective reads, ‘Provide Fund for care and support packages that enable children to remain with their families established’. Nonetheless, like the strategic plan, there is no actionable blueprint for implementation. The criteria for selecting households for enrollment unto the LEAP includes a dimension of orphans and vulnerable children. This however excludes children at risk of becoming social orphans, the majority of who without any intervention will land in alternative care especially residential homes.
Support for careleavers (in legislation and in practice)
 
Partly
Data source: DSW
i
In practice, children are supported to be reunified to their family and reintegrated to the community.

Social Work Force

Social Work Force

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Workers
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Country
--
Workers
Data source: Department of Social Welfare 2019, and Office of the Head of Local Government Service 2019.
No. of government social service workers with child protection responsibilities (per 100,000 children)
i
Total: 2890 included 255 social welfare officers (civil services) and 2635 social welfare and community development officers (local government services)
Workers
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Effective
A national workforce assessment and analysis carried out within the past four years
 
Yes
Social Welfare Service Workforce Capacity Assessment. Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Department of Social Welfare,UNICEF, 2020
i
A social welfare workforce capacity assessment has been conducted in 2019. Based on the assessment a five year costed capacity building plan was developed and validated in 2020.
A system of licensing/registration of social service professionals
 
Partly
Data source: DSW, 2020
i
A draft social work council bill has been drafted and will be presented to Parliament in 2021.

Key Stakeholders

Key Stakeholders

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Country
Government
Civil Society Organisations
Effective

Other Relevant Reforms

Other Relevant Reforms

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Effective
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Child Protection
i
Over the past decade, Ghana has ostensibly taken significant efforts to create better responses for children and families at risk – such as through the creation of a Justice for Children Policy (2015); Child and Family Welfare Policy (2015) and legislating to create measures to prevent domestic violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), human trafficking and to protect the rights of children with disabilities. Ghana has designated a special department, the Department of Children (‘DoC’) that has management responsibility for policy, coordination, monitoring and research for children’s issues within the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (‘MoGCSP’). Separately, the Department of Social Welfare is responsible for carrying out statutory functions, and protecting and promoting children’s rights. The Children’s Act 1998 (‘the Act’) was comprehensively amended in 2016 to support changes to the child protection system. In its 2015 report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child commended Ghana on the adoption of a wide variety of child related legislative measures, however voiced a concern about the evident gap between law and practice. The committee noted a lack of sufficient resources, overlapping or duplicate interventions and inadequate coordination as factors in previous poor implementation of the policies and laws This previous, ‘poor implementation’ refers to policies and legislation to improve outcomes for children. In 2007 Ghana adopted a Care Reform Initiative (‘CRI’) seeking to reform the care system and progress towards a deinstitutionalised system. The CRI sought to: prevent family separation; prioritise extended family placements; place children with a foster family when a family placement was unavailable; and to pursue adoption, preferably with a Ghanaian family as a last resort. Between 2010 and 2012 a National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children was adopted, building upon the CRI. The aim of this plan was to establish strategies and objectives for the prevention of family separation, the protection of children separated from their family and the development of the State’s capacity and resources in this field. Despite these efforts, in 2015 the Committee on the Rights of the Child remained concerned that: • There was an increasing number of children living outside their family environment in institutions as a result of socioeconomic pressures; • That conditions in alternative care centres were poor, and lacked proper monitoring, record keeping and licensing/registration; and • That informal kinship or other foster care solutions were under socioeconomic stress. The new legislative infrastructure and good will on behalf of the government seeks to radically change and improve responses for children deprived of their family environment. The Child and Family Welfare Policy, aims to: design programs to more effectively prevent, and protect children from, all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation; ensure effective coordination of the family welfare system at all levels; empower children and families to understand situations of risk; and to promote the effective use of existing laws and policies. Comprehensive change to the Act strive to further strengthen and coordinate responses. In addition, the GOG passed the adoption and foster care regulations in 2018. Since then, the GoG and more specifically the Department of Social Welfare developed Case management SOP for children in need of care and protection, Standards for Residential Homes for Children, develop a foster care program with the training and licensing of foster parents, the placement of children in foster care, increased the inspection and monitoring of children in residential care facilities and develop DI guidelines and roadmaps for the deinstitutionalisation of children in RHC.
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Decentralisation
i
The enactment of Legislative Instrument 1961 (LI 1961) and the Local Government Act, 2003 (Act 656) marked the commencement of the functioning of the decentralized Departments at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District level as Departments of the various Assemblies. The LI 1961also transferred the staff of the decentralized Departments of the Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts from the Civil Service to the Local Government Service. This places the Local Government Service at the centre of Administrative Decentralization in the country with enormous responsibility of managing and developing the Human Resource of the Assemblies. The Department of Social Welfare and Community Development have been decentralized and are responsible to implement the policies and laws related and provide quality services to vulnerable children and families
Data source: Local Government Service Ghana
Social Protection
i
The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP) was established by the Government of Ghana in 2008 and is the flagship programme of Ghana’s National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS). The programme has four objectives: (1) reduce extreme poverty, hunger and starvation among the most severely disabled and incapacitated people; (2) stimulate access to social services (health and education in particular); (3) empower subsistence farmers and fisher folk to access opportunities likely to move them out of extreme poverty and break the intergenerational poverty cycle; and (4) positively impact on pregnant women and infants and reduce the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS among the target groups. LEAP provides bi-monthly cash transfers and health insurance to extremely poor
Data source: Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection; Family for Every Child, Centre for Social Protection (CSP) at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), and Challenging Heights, 2014

Key Research Sources

Key Data Sources

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Country

Street Children in Accra: A Survey Report

Nana Apt Van Ham; E. Q., Blavo; S. K. Opoku - Department of Sociology, University of Ghana for the Department of Social Welfare and Save the Children Fund (UK)
01 Apr 1995
Effective

Drivers of Institutionalisation

Drivers of Institutionaliziation

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Push Factors
Pull Factors
Effective

Displaying 1 - 10 of 174

List of Organisations

Kwabena Frimpong-Manso - Child & Youth Services ,

This study aims to explore the experiences of Ghanaian care leavers to discern the factors that promote and impede their educational attainment.

Kwabena Frimpong-Manso - Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal,

Using a qualitative design, the author of this study interviewed 12 social workers to explore the benefits of family support services and challenges that inhibit the gains from the services.

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,

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.

Victor Cebotari and Bilisuma B. Dito - Children and Youth Services Review,

Using survey data collected in 2010 from Ghanaian school children, this study investigates variations in children’s durable goods and private utilities when parents migrate internally or internationally compared to a control group of children who live with their parents.

World Vision,

This report explores children and young people’s views and experiences related to COVID-19 and its indirect impacts. Firstly, it looks at children and young people’s perceptions of how COVID-19 has had an impact on their lives and countries.

Alhassan Abdullah, Margarita Frederico, Ebenezer Cudjoe, Clifton R. Emery - Child Abuse Review,

Drawing on semi‐structured in‐depth interviews with 31 kinship caregivers, this study sought to explore how the culturally informed traditional kinship care practice in Ghana can be considered an intervention strategy for parental neglect.

Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF,

This document is aimed at complementing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Licensing, Monitoring and Closure of Residential Homes for Children (RHC) by supporting the implementation of the closure of RHCs that have not been licensed or do not meet the standards in the SOPs.

Republic of Ghana Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF,

This Training Manual for Caregivers of Children with disabilities has been developed to equip caregivers of children with disabilities (which include biological parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, caregivers in institutions, caregivers in day care centers, healthcare providers, teachers of special needs schools, etc.) with the needed knowledge and skill in order for them to be able to provide the required quality of care for the children for them to grow and develop well and become productive in society.

Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, UNICEF,

Based on social welfare workforce assessment, a long-term capacity building strategy was developed to assist the Government of Ghana - specifically the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and the Office of the Head of Local Government Service (OHLGS) - to strengthen its social welfare workforce in order to respond appropriately to the needs of vulnerable and marginalized children and other populations in the country.

Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, UNICEF,

This Inter-Sectoral Standard Operating Procedure for child protection and family welfare (ISSOP) provides a harmonized framework of agreed standards, principles and procedures for all child protection and family welfare stakeholders in Ghana to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.