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CHILDREN IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES. Nana Araba Apt, MSW PhD Professor and Academic Dean Ashesi University College The State of Social Services in Ghana. The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) is an integral part of the Ministry of Manpower Youth and Employment (MMYE) .

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children in difficult circumstances


Nana Araba Apt, MSW PhD

Professor and Academic Dean

Ashesi University College

the state of social services in ghana
The State of Social Services in Ghana
  • The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) is an integral part of the Ministry of Manpower Youth and Employment (MMYE) .
  • Established in 1950 to coordinate and facilitate welfare services In Ghana and provide a link with international social services.
  • Functions of the Ministry include policy formulation.
  • The Department of Social Welfare works in partnership with Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and other state agencies in providing material and advisory assistance to vulnerable groups in communities throughout the country.
In implementing its mandate the department administers three core programmes for empowering vulnerable and excluded persons.

Community-Based Rehabilitation Programmes (CBR)

Child Rights Protection Programmes

Justice Administration Programmes

demographical features relating to children
Demographical Features Relating to Children
  • Children under age 15 continue to account for about half the population
  • The mean family size has dropped from 5.5 in 1984 to 4.7
  • Mean family size is larger for rural women than urban women i.e. 5.6 compared to 4.7 for urban women
family size
Family Size
  • Younger professional males favour smaller families.
  • The higher the educational status of a woman, the smaller the family size.
  • Educated /professional men and women are therefore more likely to favour smaller families and take on the responsibilities for children’s welfare.
children in difficult circumstances1
Children in Difficult Circumstances
  • Child poverty is a manifestation of the poverty of women especially.
  • Female poverty entails further deprivations that become obvious in children's significant levels of malnutrition and infant mortality. In times of crisis, families may withdraw their children from school to save on costs and for extra labour .
  • Younger children, most especially girls, are socialized early into work and labour on the streets and in households, missing out in education and skills training.
children in difficult circumstances2
Children in Difficult Circumstances
  • Girls are typically withdrawn from formal education before boys.
  • A growing number of young children are vulnerable to exclusion as they are denied their basic rights due to abandonment or orphanhood early in life.
  • Among the youth also many are driven by poverty to migrate to cities and large towns to fend for themselves leaving them on the margins of society without education, basic health care and employable skills.
  • The national OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) policy document estimates that the number of OVCs is over 170,000.
child labour
Child Labour
  • Child labour has emerged in Ghana as a major phenomenon exposing young people to considerable risk of accidents as defined under the ILO programme on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL).
  • Children engaged in hazardous work such as fishing, commercial sex, ritual and domestic servitude have been found to be among the sites of WFCL.
  • Some children are brought to urban centres as house helpers but run away from harsh conditions or abuse and join the street trade where they suffer all the accompanying risks of homelessness.
child labour1
Child Labour
  • Many young girls especially are locked into domestic servitude that in many cases does not provide adequately for their basic needs including formal education, employable skills training and basic health care.
  • The plight of a large pool of out-of-school youth has become a major concern in Ghana.
  • Many migrate to the big cities and towns where they are relegated to the margins of society. Once there they are easily recruited into anti-social activity characterized by crime and violence.
  • Many children leave school with little or no proficiency in literacy and numeracy, nor with employable skills.
in summary
In Summary
  • In outcomes of many surveys on street children in Ghana, the low income status of the average Ghanaian family has come to the limelight as a major factor for change.
  • As a result of economic constraints, children have to work and earn money for their own upkeep and often to supplement family income.
  • The two inter-dependent issues of low incomes of families and child labour are both major social problems facing Ghana today
  • Poverty renders a family vulnerable to physical and emotional stress and this is inconducive to the social well-being of children.
  • If families could be assisted through meaningful social programmes to be responsible for their children
  • If families could be assisted through economic programmes to be able to meet some of their daily needs for survival and also meet their financial and social obligations to their children;
  • There will be less children in the streets fending for themselves
  • Less children in domestic servitude
  • And less children in distress