Powerful digital tools, standards launched to improve integrated social services for vulnerable children
Accra, 25 June 2021 - The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) today launched a series of powerful, modern tools and standards, equipping social workers in Ghana to better provide integrated social services to vulnerable children and their families.
The tools consist of the Inter-sectoral Standard Operating Procedures for Child Protection and Family Welfare (ISSOP), the Social Welfare Information Management System (SWIMS) - a powerful open-source software customized for use in Ghana, and an online Directory of Social Services. These tools will strengthen the capacity of social welfare officers and other key stakeholders in ensuring a minimum standard and quality of response in the delivery of case management services. They are designed to reinforce referral pathways between different social service providers in Ghana, helping hundreds of thousands of children and families facing hurdles in their lives.
“Today is a special day when we celebrate our success but also look at the journey ahead in our efforts to continuously strengthen the capacity of our staff, to facilitate collaboration, to provide integrated services with a focus on child protection, social protection and health services in a more efficient way. We should make it as easy as possible for every child and family to tackle the challenges that come their way."
“We are launching tools that were developed by the Government of Ghana with the support of UNICEF, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States. It is a step forward to create a child-friendly environment for all in need of care and protection. We expect staff at all levels to adopt and use them to provide quality services,” said the Honorable Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development Daniel Botwe.
Children and families can now get social, health, education services through one entry point who then can easily refer them to other services, if needed, when the Integrated Social Services (ISS) are fully implemented at national and subnational level across the country.
“Ghana is once again showing that it is a leader in pioneering new approaches, with thanks to the strategic partnership with the US and UK Governments. UNICEF stands ready to support the use of these tools by all frontline workers, so that the systems are fit-for-purpose today and prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. Through enhanced Integrated Social Services, key stakeholders can make a real difference in the lives of children and help them realize their dreams,” said UNICEF Representative in Ghana Anne-Claire Dufay.
The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development, supported the Government of Ghana and UNICEF to develop these tools. These tools were developed as part of the program to accelerate Care Reform Initiative between the Government of the United States and Ghana which aims to ensure that children are living in a protective and loving family.
Notes to the Editor
ISSOP provides a harmonized framework of agreed standards, principles and procedures for all child protection and family welfare stakeholders to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities. Designed to improve the quality of social services, this tool will serve as a national guideline that identifies the different referral pathways for managing specific child protection cases, and identifies various forms, tools, and guides for inter-sectoral use. Notably, it facilitates mutually accountability among stakeholders and with the beneficiaries they serve.
SWIMS is a case management information management system to document and report the provision of social welfare services (child protection, social protection, and gender-based violence). Powered by Primero X, this open-source case management software was developed by UNICEF and customized for use in Ghana based on standard operating procedures and case management forms. SWIMS allow users to securely collect, store, manage and share data on social welfare and case management service provision. Now live in 60 districts, the primary users of the system are Social Welfare and Community Development officers at the district-level along with other service providers such as NGOs and Residential Care Facilities. Ghana is the first country globally to deploy and scale this updated version of Primero X. UNICEF aims to have Primero X deployed in 60 countries and territories by 2025.
The Directory of Social Services (http://directory.mogcsp.gov.gh/) is the first of its kind web-based portal that provides information on legally registered social welfare service providers in all 260 districts in Ghana. The Directory provides the name, website, domain of operation and contact information of registered service providers with geolocations as and where available. The Directory will help connect social service providers across both the public and private sectors and facilitate the identification of appropriate organizations to refer cases and follow up on referred cases.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.