In Ghana, UNICEF works with partners to ensure that children are protected from violence, abuse and exploitation
The child protection system in Ghana has been decentralized to make all services responsive and accessible at the local level and closer everyone. While the provision of services has improved in some sectors, social services in some municipalities and district assemblies, to address different child rights and gender-based violations remain unresponsive, fragmented and uncoordinated.
The link between systems such as social protection, community development, prevention of gender-based violence, justice for children, child protection, education and health at the district level is inadequate.
While social welfare and community development officers at the district level are working hard to make a difference in the lives of children and families, their efforts are not being documented or monitored. They lack skills and training on the provision of quality services in the field of child and social protection and gender-based violence.
The number of district assemblies that prioritize child and family welfare issues including social and child protection and gender-based violence could be improved. This is because social development officers fail to quantify their contribution towards the provision of services at the local level.
Further, the total number of social development officers at the local level is not enough. One social welfare and community development officer to population ratio is high, especially given the fact that close to one in five Ghanaian children need response support to address different risks and vulnerabilities.
UNICEF and partners are focused on strengthening the child protection system. In 1990, Ghana was the first country in the world to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and it is party to many other international instruments relating to child protection like:
• The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
• The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
• The Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.
• The International Labour Organisation Convention No.182 on the worst forms of child labour.
In October 2017, the President of Ghana presented the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024) to the parliament. This includes numerous planned interventions related to child and family welfare issues, such as preventing traditional harmful practices like early marriage and female genital mutilation, strengthening the inclusion of children with disability, increasing access to education and educational materials for orphans, vulnerable children and children with special needs, introducing a District Integrated Social Services programme for children, families and vulnerable adults, promoting justice for children and improving the birth registration system.