Cabinet approves 3 policies developed by Gender Ministry

Cabinet has approved three policies developed by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to protect the rights of children and improve social protection in Ghana.

These bring to five, the number of policies developed by the Ministry and approved by Cabinet in 2015.

The Child and Family Welfare Policy and the National Gender Policy have already been launched. The New Policies are the National Social Protection Policy, the School Feeding Policy and the Justice for Children Policy.

The National Social Protection Policy provides a framework for a coherent social protection system. The policy will provide mechanisms to protect persons living in situations of extreme poverty and related vulnerability and exclusion.

It will create an all-inclusive and socially empowered society. It supports the principle that every Ghanaian matters and is capable of contributing to national development. Through this policy, the inequality gap will be closed for the total inclusion of all Ghanaians.

In the short-term the social protection focuses on facilitating the implementation of five flagship programmes, namely, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW), the School Feeding Programme (SFP), the National Health Insurance (NHIS) Exemptions and the Basic Education Capitation Grants.

The Social Protection policy reflects government’s commitment to reduce by more than half the proportion of men, women and children living in all forms of poverty; achieve full and productive employment for all, including young people and people with disabilities and substantially increase access to formal social security for Ghanaians in working age and older persons.

The goal of the School Feeding Policy is to have a well-organized, decentralized intervention system to provide disadvantaged school children with nutritionally adequate, locally produced food and thereby reduce poverty through improved household incomes and effective local economic development.

The School Feeding policy has objectives to foster local economic development in food production, marketing and processing. It also aims to promote local collaboration and joint ownership of child nutrition, health promotion and education by local authorities, communities and stakeholders. It will also promote local economic development through capacity support.

The third policy Cabinet has approved is the Justice for Children Policy. The Policy addresses both criminal and civil cases involving children and seeks to establish a well-structured and coordinated Justice for Children system that promotes the wellbeing of children, prevents violence, exploitation and abuse.

The policy will protect children from harm and promote justice for children. It is concerned with all children who would come in contact with the justice system – as victims of crime, witnesses, alleged offenders and offenders, and other cases involving children. It is also to provide for an improvement in the handling of justice for children cases by the formal justice system and community justice system. It will link up both systems in the interest of children for a coherent Justice system for Children fit for Ghana.

The overall goal of this Policy is to improve access to justice for children in line with acceptable standards, values and beliefs of the formal and community justice system.

The objectives of the policy are to:
Prevent juvenile offending.
Strengthen programmes for rehabilitation and social reintegration.

Strengthen formal and community justice systems and link them up to enhance access to justice and protection for children in conflict with the law.

Protect child witnesses and victims of crimes.
Provide protection for children involved in family and other civil proceedings.

The guiding principles of the policy are non-discrimination, best interests of the child, right to protection of dignity and privacy of children, confidentiality, right to be heard/participation, Right to fair trial and right to legal protection.

A Child Support Unit will be established under the policy. The Unit will among other functions, file cases in court on behalf of applicants against parents not contributing to the welfare of their children The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection will launch the three policies

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