Ogun State Government has restated its determination to explore necessary avenue to ensure adequate care and protection of children for their survival and well-being.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Efuwape said this in Abeokuta at the opening of a 3-Day capacity building workshop for the State Technical Working Group (STWG) on Alternative Care, organised by her Ministry in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organisation, SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria, with the theme: “Leave No Child Behind”.
Efuape pointed out that the present government would prioritise Alternative Care Guidelines to enhance the existing legal framework and practices for children without parental care and those at risk of being separated from their parents.
The Commissioner, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Melutia Ogunremi added that the Guidelines contain interventions that would enable STWG carry out activities for children who were deprived of a family care environment due to abandonment, violence, abuse, family separation, or where the best interests of the child could be guaranteed.
According to the Commissioner, “the State government through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development is saddled with the responsibilities of creating policy and framework to guide all child care organisations in the best interest of the child, as well as provide harmonised guidance to child welfare development and protection”.
Earlier in her address, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ogunremi, represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Toyin Akinola said it was imperative to develop Alternative Care Guidelines for the State with the aim to involve critical stakeholders in its implementation, lauding the support of the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on policies and programmes that promote the well-being of children in the State.
Ogunremi said, “alternative care is important to the socio-cultural welfare of our children in the State, and this is part of our responsibilities as a Ministry to give them proper development and sense of belonging that they deserve”.
On his part, the National Director, SOS Children’s Village, Mr. Eghosa Erhumwunse, represented by the Regional Manager, Mr. Ayodeji Adelabu stated that the organisation had been working with the government to protect and support vulnerable children, as well as strengthen families.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mr. Shope Alabede said the training was timely, as it would equip them with the needed skills to achieve the goal of the Alternative Care Guidelines in the State.