FG, Association partner to modernise orphanages and childcare services

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By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

The Federal Government has partnered with the Association of Orphanages and Homes Operators in Nigeria (ASOHON) to transform the orphanages and childcare services in Nigeria.

The initiative seeks to leverage technology to streamline data management and enhance support for vulnerable children across the nation.

During a consultative forum held in Abuja, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, unveiled plans to implement a software solution in partnership with Both Ends Believing (BEB), an international organisation.

This innovative approach aims to provide comprehensive data on orphanages and vulnerable children, facilitating informed decision-making and improving child protection procedures.

The Children First Software (CFS), developed by BEB, will serve as a vital tool in this endeavor.

Designed as a mobile app and web-based platform, the software enables real-time tracking of vulnerable children within orphanage facilities, from their admission to eventual placement.

Representing the Minister at the forum, Mr Eligius Nobis, Assistant Director of Child Development, emphasised the significance of this partnership in addressing the challenges faced by the childcare sector.

He highlighted the government’s commitment to working with ASOHON and BEB to eradicate illegal orphanage operations, commonly referred to as “baby factories.”

Kennedy-Ohanenye underscored the importance of accurate data in guiding policy formulation and enforcement within the childcare sector.

She commended ASOHON for its role in facilitating this collaboration and urged regional chapters to actively participate in identifying and shutting down illegal childcare facilities.

Dr Gabriel Oyediji, National President of ASOHON, emphasised the urgency of updating existing data on vulnerable children, citing outdated statistics from 2007.

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He noted the role of BEB’s CFS in addressing this gap and reiterated the association’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of children under their care.

“As we embark on this journey of collaboration and dialogue, let us reflect on the profound impact our collective actions can have on the lives of these children.

“By working hand-in-hand, we can ensure that they receive love, care and support they deserve to thrive and fulfil their potential,’’ Oyediji said.

The national president, encouraged the government to prioritise social welfare funding, data coherency and ensure conclusive projects on assembling data which had failed in the past.

According to him, until the budget for social care and welfare is improved, things will not get better, because people working in this sector are discouraged.

Mr Kenneth Ayebazibwe, African Regional Director for BEB, emphasised the software’s role in promoting transparency and accountability within the childcare system.

He outlined the benefits of the CFS, including improved coordination among stakeholders and streamlined licensing procedures for orphanages.

Ms Yonpan Dariem, a representative of BEB Nigeria, while presenting the findings from homes on the pilot project, said out of over 500 homes registered with ASOHON, they assessed 90.

Dariem said that from the assessment, children brought into childcare services were either partial/total orphans, had shelter issues, abandoned, faced extreme poverty, dissatisfied about basic needs, abused, among other reasons.

She also mentioned that some were kept in home due to disability and out of 3,753 assessed, 13 of them were children with disabilities. 

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Other assessment criteria included children in residential care by age, sex, parental status, children with up-to-date care plan, among other conditions. (NAN)www.nannews.ng

Edited by Jacinta Nwachukwu/Deji Abdulwahab

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