The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has renovated a shelter at Madina in Accra to house rescued street children.
According to the sector Minister, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, the ministry had written letters to its supporting agencies for the needed support to operate the shelter (which could house 100 inmates) efficiently, where the inmates would be fed and clothed and also trained to acquire skills.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra yesterday, Mrs Morrison restated her commitment to the welfare of street children, saying most of these children needed not be on the street, where most of them were exposed to anti-social practices that made some of them hardened criminals.
She said some of the street children had parents but found themselves on the streets as a result of poverty, while the parents of others could not be identified.
Other children on the streets, she said, were those who had escaped from homes where they were maltreated.
Mrs Morrison, who is also the NPP Member of Parliament for Agona West in the Central Region, said since December 17, the ministry had written letters to the security agencies and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to help in the execution of the exercise.
She also said the ministry had written letters to the embassies of neighbouring countries to inform them of the ministry’s efforts to rid the nation’s capital of street children and get them involved in the programme.
“We are going to spell it out to the parents that we don’t want any child on the street and after that when a child is found on the street the parents could be charged”, she added.
She said the shelter was very comfortable and, therefore, the children would not have any reason to run away but added that those who would run back to the street would be prosecuted and sent to juvenile homes as they would be considered as recalcitrant, while their parents would also be arrested.
With the involvement of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Mrs Morrison said before the “children are housed at the shelter, they will be screened for illnesses while their bio-data and pictures will be taken so as to help keep records on them.”
According to the minister, a school around Madina had also been secured so that those who needed to be in school would be placed back in school while those who needed to be given skills training would also be trained.
She said it was prudent that the street children took advantage of the free senior high school education to secure their future.
To ensure that the children enjoyed the Christmas festivities, she said the ministry together with its partners were going to organise Christmas party for them.
She advised children to stay away from the use of hard drugs that could have a negative impact on their health and also advised girls to stay away from negative behaviour that could end them in child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
She took the opportunity to wish all Ghanaians, particularly children and market women, a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, expressing the hope that the New Year would bring everlasting joy, peace and prosperity to all.