University of Southern California
i. To gain an overview on Ghanaian views on orphan care
ii. To visit four orphanages around Accra and conduct a comparative case study
iii. To understand social work in Ghana and its interaction with the orphan care system
iv. To judge the effectiveness of the Care Reform Initiative based on my field work and provide my own recommendations for the future of orphan care in Ghana
During the month long project I was based in Accra. I began my conducting literary research about orphanages and social work in Ghana. My fieldwork consisted of choosing and visiting four different orphanages around Accra. During my interviews I learned about the history, services, operations, philosophy and general upkeep of each orphanage. I also focused on the prevalence (or lack there of) of social work theory and practice at each orphanage. Finally, I discussed the impact of the Care Reform Initiative at each orphanage. After collecting my data I compared the orphanages to each other and made conclusions as to which orphanage provided the best care and why.
My research yielded me a thorough understanding of the four orphanages that I visited.
I found that the orphan care system has yet to be fully developed in Ghana because of the reliance on traditional forms of caring for orphans, i.e. kinship fostering. The four orphanages that I visited illuminated the lack of social work theory, and more specifically counseling services, available to the children. The corruption and problems with bureaucracy within the government in general and Department of Social Welfare, specifically, were also clarified during my research time.
The orphan care system in Ghana is still far from adequately caring for the children in need. The Department of Social Welfare needs to invest in counseling and therapy services for the orphaned children. While the Care Reform is a good initiative in theory it has yet to show any actual improvements within the system and until the Department is itself improved, the reform will never been effective. The government needs to create coordination between itself and orphanages (both public and private) in order to build a relationship of trust. My comparison of the four orphanages led me to conclude that private orphanages are better because they allow children to live in a home like environment. Also the private orphanages are able to work without the constraints of the corrupt and difficult Department of Social Welfare.
Colburn, Jessica, "Orphanages of Accra: A Comparative Case Study on Orphan Care and Social Work Practices" (2010). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 850.