SOCIAL WELFARE

PROFILE

2024 FIRST QUARTERLY REPORT ON THE OPERATIONS OF DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE IN THE OTI REGION

INTRODUCTION

The Department of Social Welfare is one of the Departments of the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC). It is mandated by Section 197 of the Local Governance Act (Act 936) to coordinate, monitor and supervise the activities of the Departments of Social Welfare and Community Development at the M/DA level.

This Report is the first quarterly reports and covers periods of three months (January to March, 2024). It contains details of activities and programs undertaken at the regional office of the Department.

MISSION

The mission of the Department is to work in collaboration with government and non-governmental organizations to integrate the vulnerable, disadvantaged and persons with disabilities with support of their families, for the full realization of their potentials.

VISION

The vision of the Department is to take the lead to integrate the disadvantaged, vulnerable and the excluded into the mainstream of social development.

CORE PROGRAMMES

In the pursuit of enhancing the social functioning of most vulnerable individuals, families and communities, the Department’s programs and activities are anchored on three core programmes namely;

  • Child Rights Protection and Promotion
  • Justice Administration
  • Community Care

STAFF STRENGTH

The Regional Office is man by two officers, that is, one Principal Social Development Officer (PSDO) who is currently acting as the Regional Director and an Assistant Social Development Officer (ASDO) who is a supporting or additional staff.

 

PROGRAMMES UNDERTAKEN IN THE QUARTER

  • Training of Potential Foster Parents

In line with the Department’s mandate to promote family based care and deemphasize institutional care for vulnerable children under the Care Reform Initiative (CRI), 20 potential foster parents, made up of 19 females and 1 males were recruited and trained. They were trained on topics such as;

  • Children’s Rights and Responsibilities
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Foster Care Regulations
  • Responsibilities of Foster Parents
  • Procedures in becoming a licensed Foster Parents

This training constitutes the first batch of planned training of foster parents in the year. These foster parents were recruited from four districts namely; Jasikan, Guan, Biakoye and Kadjebi Districts.

The second batch involving 24 potential foster parents would be trained in the second quarter of the year with support from International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-governmental organization.

Going into the second quarter of the year, the Department is working assiduously to secure the medical reports and character recommendation letters from the community chiefs in respect of those trained in order to secure their licence from the Foster Care Unit of the Department of Social Welfare.

During the quarter under review, the Regional Foster Care Placement Committee has not met and no child has been placed in foster care during the quarter.

 

  • Monitoring of 88th Cycle LEAP Cash Out

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in pursuing the agenda of improving the livelihood of poor households has introduced the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) Program in 2008. The LEAP program is in all M/DAs with varied beneficiary numbers.

In total, 10824 households are on LEAP in 432 communities across the Oti region. Bi-monthly, an amount of GH₵2,115,525.35 is disbursed to the beneficiary household on the program through their caregivers.

During the quarter under review, the 88th Cycle LEAP Cash Out was successfully done in all nine (9) districts of the region. To ensure the disbursement goes according to its regulations and policies, monitoring was conducted in two (2) Districts (Krachi East and Biakoye) and in nine (9) communities.

The monitoring team interacted with some beneficiaries and noted their concerns which were mostly case management cases such as caregiver change and death notification.

Some of the beneficiaries complained about delay in disbursing the grant to them. They were assured that their concerns would be forwarded to the LEAP Management Secretariat for redress.

Additionally, the Department conducted spot checks on a nationwide exercise on verification and validation of one member LEAP households. This exercise was conducted in four (4) communities in the Nkwanta South Municipality. This exercise would be extended to two Nkwanta North and Jasikan in the second quarter of the year. This exercise is aimed at cleaning the LEAP database.

3.0 Adoption Services

The Children’s Act (Amendment Act) established the Central Adoption Authority (CAA) with the responsibility to coordinate and oversee adoption services in Ghana. Similarly, District and Regional Social Welfare Officers have been mandated under this act to provide some adoption services to applicants.

In line with this mandate, the Regional Office received two (2) applications and supported the applicants to provide the relevant documents as required by the Adoption Regulations (LI 2360).

The applicants successfully provided the documents and their Home Study Reports have been written and submitted to the Central Adoption Authority for further processing.

In addition, one non-relative adoption case carried from last year into the first quarter was fully processed and the CAA has since issued the declaration mandating the client to engage a lawyer to go to court to secure the adoption order. Hopefully, the adoption order would be secured in the second quarter.

4.0 Technical Backstopping Support to District Officers

Section 197 (a) of the Local Governance Act (Act 936) provided that Departments of the Regional Coordinating Council shall co-ordinate, harmonise, monitor and evaluate the performance of the functions of the relevant Departments of the District Assemblies in the region.

In line with this requirement, the Department provided technical support to all District Heads of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development in the nine (9) Districts in the region. The support includes case management and case work. In most cases, telephone conversation was used to engage the officers on reported issues and appropriate solution reached.

In the second quarter, training would be conducted in three (3) Districts on Intersectoral Standard Operating Procedure on Child and Family Welfare (ISSOP) for selected child protection actors under the Integrated Social Services (ISS) intervention and in line with the Department’s action plan for the quarter.

 

5.0 Challenges

In carrying out planned activities for the quarter, the Department faced some challenges. Enumerated below are some of them:

  • Inadequate Staffing: The Department is currently managed by two (2) officers and this is greatly affecting monitoring and coordination of district level programs and activities.
  • Lack of Means of Transport: The Department currently does not have means of transport for monitoring activities so the officer depends on his personal vehicle to conduct official assignments. This in effect increases the maintenance cost of the vehicle since the roads are largely unmotorable.
  • Inadequate Funding for Monitoring: The Department depends largely on the government releases to undertake monitoring and other activities. This source of funding is not reliable because it mostly delays in hitting the accounts of the Department. Secondly, the amount is mostly very meagre as compared to the volume of activities that must be undertaken.
  • Inappropriate Office Accommodation: The Department is currently sharing office space with two other Departmental Heads and because of this, services to clients are mostly not the best in relation to the ethics of confidentiality. To deal with this situation, the Officer receives some clients in the conference room.

 

6.0 CONCLUSION

Despite severe financial and other challenges enumerated above, the department was up to the task in service delivery in line with its mission of working in partnership with people in their communities to improve their well-being through the promotion of social development with equity for the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, persons with disabilities and the excluded in the region.

It is our hope that the Department would be given the needed support in dealing with the aforementioned setbacks to promote and ensure the inclusion of the vulnerable into national development.

 

        SUBMITTED BY:   INNOCENT K. AGBOLOSU

SOCIAL WELFARE

INNOCENT K. AGBOLOSU

REGIONAL HEAD

SOCIAL WELFARE

SOCIAL WELFARE

SOCIAL WELFARE

SOCIAL WELFARE

SOCIAL WELFARE

SOCIAL WELFARE

SOCIAL WELFARE