In a bid to achieve a globally accepted standard of child care and adoption, the Lagos State Government has charged all stakeholders, particularly owners and service providers of orphanages and homes, to ensure that best practices are adopted in child adoption and other related services.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Dr. Aina Ayoola, made the call in Alausa, Ikeja, during a stakeholders’ meeting with the Association of HomeOwners and Orphanage Operators in Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, and matrons of various government and non-government homes.
Ayoola, while appreciating the stakeholders for their achievements and efforts towards making the lives of vulnerable children better and productive, emphasised the need to further streamline the processes of adoption and practices in all orphanages and homes across the State.
He also revealed the plan of the Ministry to introduce an annual renewal of operational licence, launch universal certified signage for registered orphanages and homes, as well as review the child matching processes.
His words: “In order to strive for more in our service to humanity, our Ministry will be introducing new ideas among which is the introduction of yearly renewal of operational licence. This will ensure that the approved procedures are followed and also allow the Ministry to keep up with and monitor the activities of Homes as well as ensure best practices”.
“Secondly, we intend to launch universal certified signage for registered and certified orphanages and homes in order to curb the operation of illegal homes and orphanages. Thirdly, our Ministry will carry out a review on child matching processes in order to ensure that children are matched with potential adopters that are best suited to provide them with adequate care and development, as well as provide potential adopters with children that are best matched for their families”; he added.
In addition, the Permanent Secretary averred that there is a global trend towards placing children in alternative care rather than allowing these children to be institutionalised due to overcrowding issues being experienced in orphanages.
He advised that alternative care must be considered to solve the issue of overcrowding in orphanages, explaining that orphanages and homes around the world are increasingly replaced with improved foster care systems, guardianship and other available services.
Ayoola assured the stakeholders of the government’s continuous effort to provide an enabling environment for the childcare institutions to survive, particularly with the provision made to familiarise with stakeholders on the guidelines to alternative care for children in Lagos.
In response, Chairman Association of HomeOwners and Orphanage Operators, Lagos Chapter, Alhaji Ganiyu Dosunmu, thanked the State government for initiating improved methods of solving the problems in the orphanages and homes across Lagos.
Dosunmu expressed his support for the government’s stand on universal standard signage, noting that the new development will ensure standard and uniformity, thereby saving orphanages from further sanctions by some regulatory agencies.
He opined that it will aid equity and openness, as well as enable the institutions to improve the process of bonding adopters with children, assuring the Ministry that the institution will always support the government in its cause towards achieving the best global practices of childcare and adoption, particularly on alternative care for children in the State.
Speaking in the same vein, the Founder, Bales of Mercy Orphanage in Bariga, Mrs. Ngozi Enyi-Igbokwe, commended the State government on ensuring that global best practices are adopted in child care and adoption institutions in the State.
She said: “Lagos is a progressive State and we are happy that a lot of innovation is coming into the child adoption sector”.