Speaking at the workshop held at the youth hall of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos, the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs Ibironke Sanwo-Olu, said the state government was fully aware of the numerous challenges confronting vulnerable children, saying the state government has launched the Social Welfare Integrated Programme Initiative (SWIPI) to improve the quality and value of care to the less privileged in the society.
This advocacy was made at a workshop, tagged, ‘Collaborate+ Lagos’, with the theme, ‘Encouraging Family-Based-Care as a More Sustainable Intervention in Raising Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
Represented by Mrs Nkem Sofela, a member of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, Mrs Sanwo-Olu said the initiative supports orphanages, elderly care and other non-governmental organisations in addressing challenges in the area of infrastructure, medical, education and training.
She also said SWIP will advocate for structure and appropriate policy that should be put in place so that registered orphanages and elderly care homes adhere to global best practices.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Youths and Social Development, Dr Aina Olugbenga, said the ministry had launched the guidelines for alternative care for vulnerable children in Lagos, adding that the state government had registered over 50 orphanage homes.
The Senior Consultant, Child Reintegration Centre, Sierra Leone, Mr David Musa, said institutionalised children were believed to be deprived of good simulation, direct affection and attention of a real parent. He added that they also lack a sense of identity and belonging because of their isolation from their communities.
In his presentation, Mr Emmanuel Nabieu, Director of Mission, Help Children Worldwide, said it was more expensive to take care of children in institutions than in families. He added that it is only in the families that children can grow up and thrive and not in orphanages.
“Home is where we belong because it is where children can be given access to their culture, languages, their norms and traditions and everything that they need to thrive as an adult”, Nabieu said.