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Stakeholders begin document validation for children’s alternative care in Katsina

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Stakeholders across relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Katsina State, have begun the validation of guidelines document for alternative care of children in the state.

The three day validation exercise which commenced on Tuesday in Katsina, was organised through the support of the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF), Kano Field office.

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Mr Jamal Ali-Ahmed, a consultant with UNICEF, said the document is actually for providing alternative care for children where their parents are not to be found.

According to him, maybe the parents are dead, mentally sick or in a correctional facility among other reasons, and there is no one to take care of the children.

“So, how can that child be taken care of, because they cannot be left alone, they must be provided with care. How are we going to take care of that child?

“Though, the document is providing different kinds of alternatives in taking care of the child,” according to him.

He added that the review of the document was done about a month and half ago, therefore they are now validating the guidelines document for acceptability.

Ali-Ahmed said the participants were from the ministry of women affairs, Youth and social development, and the department of girl child education and development.

And also, religious and traditional leaders, security agents and other relevant stakeholders were brought together to provide inputs for the document.

“The exercise was aimed at guaranteeing the protection and well-being of children and adolescents who lack parental care or at risk of parental care,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, department of girl child education and development, Hajiya Amina Ibrahim said the purpose of the exercise was to have acceptable guidelines.

According to her, guidelines that can be acceptable by the government, the society, and also suit the culture and tradition of Katsina people.

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She added that, “During the review exercise, we had inputs from the stakeholders, made some corrections by the consultant and brought it back to them to see.

“And we are here now for the validation of the document, which is the final process of reviewing it, before presenting it to the governor for approval and domesticating within the state.”

The permanent secretary said there are a lot of religious and traditional issues involved, “that’s why the relevant stakeholders were brought together to look at it again”.

According to her, the validation exercise was necessary in order to provide the people with what they want, that is why their input is important and necessary.

The Guideline was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Nov. 20, 2009, in connection with the 20th anniversary of the UN convention on the rights of the child.

According to the assembly, these guidelines provide an international child-rights framework, based upon principles for protection of children without appropriate care or at-risk of accessing appropriate care.

The assembly explained that specific objectives of the guidelines was to ensure alternative care providers are supported with necessary skills and knowledge to protect children

Support efforts to keep children in or return them to the care of their parents or, when this fails, find appropriate and permanent solutions.

And ensure that in cases where permanent solutions are not possible or are not in the best interests of the child, service providers identify and provide the most suitable forms of alternative care to promote a child’s full and harmonious development.

Support and encourage the government to ensure full implementation of state responsibilities and obligations to protect children taking into consideration the economic, social and cultural conditions families encounter.

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