The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur has appealed to religious bodies to use their platforms to spread the need for child protection.
She called for unified approach in developing preventive and response mechanisms to child protection issues with the help of the Districts Assemblies, Departments of Social Welfare and Community Development and civil society organizations.
Oye Lithur made the appeal on Tuesday at a consultative forum with religious leaders and faith-based organizations on the Child and Family Welfare Policy in Accra organized by the sector Ministry and the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
She said a draft National Child and Welfare Policy had been produced to address challenges faced under three main themes and these are family-related challenges, child maltreatment and behaviour changes.
Oye Lithur said the propose policy was to ensure the welfare and well being of children and families by supporting and promoting family and community strategies and processes and ensure that services were available for children and their families when facing difficulties.
She said the policy was necessary because the family was considered the bed rock of society and that the child's identity was determined by being part of the family and clan since a strengthened family leads to well supported children.
Oye Lithur said the Ministry,with support from development partners, undertook a Mapping Exercise in 2010 to generate evidence of the true state of child protection in the country and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the child protection system and develop appropriate solutions.
She said key findings of the exercise was that although the country had a legal framework, there was poor implementation, juvenile justice not integrated into broader justice system,lack of clarity in mandates of key stakeholders institutions and no comprehensive national policy framework for child protection.
Oye Lithur said the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey in 2008 showed that under five mortality rates had declined by about 30 per cent from 111/1000 live births in 2003 to 80/1000 live births, stressing that more needs to be done to reduce the figure.
She said the Ghana Child Labor Survey from the Statistical Service in 2003 estimated that 6.36 million children were engaged in paid economic activities.
Dr Joyce Aryee, the Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministry, said children were the future of every nation and gift from God and behoved on all to ensure they were raised in a manner pleasing to God.
Mrs Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF Country's Representative in Ghana, said the forum would afford the platform for stakeholders to chart the way forward in addressing and finding solutions to child protection in the country.