The Alternative Care Framework by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Developmen

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The Government of Uganda through Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is implementing the Alternative Care Framework that seeks family based solutions for Ugandan children in care. This was another presentation by Stella Ogwang Principal Probation Officer at Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development at the Christian Childcare Conference held on 19 February a2015 at Gaba Community Church.

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The Alternative Care Framework by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Developmen

  1. 1. ALTERNATIVE CARE FRAMEWORK Jane Stella Ogwang Principal Probation & Welfare Officer Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development
  2. 2. Presentation Outline 1. SITUATION ANALYSIS 2. WHAT HAS BEEN DONE SO FAR 3. CURRENT PLANS / INITIATIVES
  3. 3. Situation Analysis • Approximately 800 orphanages / residential care institutions • Less than 35 are licensed by Ministry of Gender • Approximately 50,000 children in orphanages / institutions • 85% with no pro-active resettlement programmes • 75% without social work capacity • Over 80% do not have a child protection policy Over 50% have completely unacceptable care standards • Over 55% of children in orphanages are there illegally • Less than 5% orphanages have the required ‘carer to child’ ratio • Nearly 70% have inadequate child records • 95% of orphanage funding comes from the West
  4. 4. Situation Analysis • There is a huge investment in institutions hence a need to fill them • Orphanages recruiting children instead of empowering poor families • Nepotism ‘pandemic’ in recruitment of children into orphanages • Institutions offer a perception of a better life than home life, creating a strong attracting force, pulling families apart • Some areas overwhelmed by foreigners starting orphanages (Jinja) • Many are just free boarding facilities masquerading as orphanages • Many parents abdicate parental responsibility to orphanages • Child protection & social work not taken seriously by orphanages • Orphanages not submitting to government rules & regulations • Illegal financial relationships between orphanages, health workers, PSWOs and adoption agencies • Paedophiles targeting orphanages and weak systems in Uganda
  5. 5. Why do children end up without parental care? • Abandonment of children by parents • Neglect and abuse of children • Extreme poverty • Domestic violence • Political instability • Severe disability driving abandonment • Death of parents & no next of kin • Natural disasters like floods, land slides • Teenage mothers who cannot care for their children • Children committing offenses
  6. 6. Why do children end up without parental care? – Push Factors • Weak enforcement of laws • Stigma of early pregnancy • Ignorance of HIV • Mother or child being HIV positive • Children of rape • Children of incest • Children with disabilities • Just because Institutions exist • Being overwhelmed by many children • Parents who are mentally unstable • Positions available
  7. 7. Why do children end up without parental care? Pull Factors • Desire to indoctrinate and/or convert children to religious affiliation • Greedy and self seekers – proprietors interested in getting quick money • Fulfillment of donor conditions and/or requirement • Desire to create jobs for proprietors of children institutions • Desire to traffic children • International Adoption • Institutions need for children to be in their schools • Communities offered free accommodation for children • Institutions need children for child labour
  8. 8. Why do children end up without parental care? Pull Factors • Institutions targeting children for sexual abuse • Institutions need children to obtain and maintain child sponsors • Institutions recruit children to evangelise and convert them to become ‘born again’ • Donors are demanding expansion • Donors dictate that children are required to fulfill their vision • Children removed (pulled) due to child protection concerns / issues • The very existence of an institution is a pull factor (it’s the easy option)
  9. 9. What has been don so far? – Alternative Care Task Force established (2010) Now a sub-committee of the National Child Protection Working Group – Alternative Care Framework developed & Children’s Act Updated – Assessment toolkit developed, piloted and being rolled-out – All regions sensitised to the problem and the framework – Baseline study on institutional and alternative care completed – Central database of childcare institutions created – Foster care & domestic adoption piloted (ugandansadopt.co.ug) – Capacity building (Government & Civil society) – Media campaign website: www.alternative-care-uganda.org
  10. 10. ALTERNATIVE CARE FRAMEWORK GOALS • To reduce the number of children in institutional (orphanage) care • To provide stakeholders at different levels with clear guidelines and placement options for children in need of alternative care based on a defined continuum of care • To put in place mechanisms to support existing government structures to carry out their statutory responsibilities for overseeing the care of children in alternative care • No child under three will ever be placed in any form of institutionalised care
  11. 11. Continuum of Care
  12. 12. Key Elements of the Framework • All children in institutional care to have an exit strategy in line with the continuum of care – reunification, kinship care, community based alternative care, fostering, domestic adoption • Each district to have an ‘Alternative Care Panel’ - making collective decisions on all resettlements, foster care, adoptions and other forms of alternative care plus decisions on children’s homes in their district • Each District to have an ‘Alternative Care Fund’ which can be used to support families during resettlement (allocated case-by-base basis)
  13. 13. Key Elements of the Framework • Establish a Central Inter-Departmental Adoption Secretariat – advocate, promote and recruit Ugandan families / match children in care (central list of children available for adoption / matches parents) • Recognises the need for temporary residential accommodation – short term / transitional / specialised (special needs / children affected by street migration / children in conflict with the law etc) • Child Care Institutions to transform themselves and become key partners in delivering the Framework or face closure.
  14. 14. LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR ALTERNATIVE CARE • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) • United Nations Guidelines (A/Hrc/11/L.13 2009) For Alternative Care • The Children’s Act of Uganda • The Approved Home Rules and Regulations • The National Alternative Care Framework for Uganda 2011 • The National Strategic Programme Plan of Interventions (NSPPI-2) for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Uganda
  15. 15. Current Initiatives – Assessments on-going – Alternative Care Panel Operational in Kampala (planned for Jinja and Gulu) – Organisations developing resettlement and alternative care plans – Para-Social Workers being trained on social work and alternative care – Government Child Protection Helpline is operational 116 – Resolution to ending Legal Guardianships being pursued in the Children Act Amendment Bill – UNICEF / USAID Alternative Care Programmes to start 2014 – Other donors / stakeholders developing alternative care programmes
  16. 16. Current Gaps • Lack of suitable transitional centres • Building central Government capacity to monitor, regulate & closing institutions • Inter-departmental coordination for AC - Justice, Internal Affairs, Gender • Improving the legal framework and legal support mechanisms • Community sensitisation – highlight the damage of institutions / addressing pull and push factors • Capacity building of District staff responsible for children without parental care • Establishment and coordination of a national foster care programme • Capacity building of District staff responsible for children without parental care

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