28 November 2012

Rwanda: Social Workers to Monitor Children in Foster Families

At least 68 social workers are to be recruited countrywide at district level to help in the phasing out of orphanages, reintegrating orphans with their biological families or finding foster homes for those without relatives.

In an interview with The New Times, Zaina Nyiramatama, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Children said that the social workers, who also have skills in psychology, will also help prepare the families taking up the children through counselling.

According to the official, the plan is to have a minimum of two social workers in each district.

"We want to recruit at least two social workers for every district to help counsel the children going to families and also the families taking in these children. We want to ensure that the children receive parental care and love," she stated.

So far, 21 social workers have been recruited and placed in different districts.

She said that the families taking up the children and the children themselves need to be prepared for the change in environment and taught how to deal with some of the challenges that might arise.

Some orphanages do not facilitate the council with the right information about their institutions so the social workers will also help collect the right information about the orphanages in the different districts, according to her.

Nyiramatama stated that 622 orphans have so far been re-integrated with their families and others been adopted.

Five orphanages have been closed up already, leaving a total of 28 countrywide. The government's plan is to phase out all orphanages dotted around the country by 2014.

The phasing out of orphanages is aimed at ensuring that all children grow up in proper family structures and not institutions where they may not get proper upbringing.

Among the challenges Nyiramatama highlighted is the fact that some orphanage administrators are still resistant to the phasing out of the institutions.

She said that this challenge is mostly with foreigners who run orphanages in Rwanda.

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