Government has been called to create juvenile centres across all the regions in the country to serve as correctional centres for children who come into conflict with the law.
Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, the Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Children, in a statement signed and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga as part of activities marking African Union (AU) Day of the African Child, said only the Greater Accra and the Central Regions have juvenile centres.
She said the situation where children involved in criminal acts were put in adult cells instead of correctional centres was unfortunate as this rather made them hardened criminals.
Mrs Aberese-Ako advocated the need for government and other development partners to change the status quo by putting up correctional centres in all the regions of the country to help deal with the situation.
Another cause for concern, she said, was the lack Child Panels in the country, which is usually coordinated by the Department of Social Welfare and the Municipal and District Assemblies, to help deal with the challenges confronting the proper upbringing of children.
She also expressed worry about the rising spate teenage pregnancies in the region as a result of the closure of schools due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
She called on parents to live up to their responsibility by providing the needs of their children and ensure that they do not travel to the southern parts of the country to look for menial jobs at the expense of private studies at home.
The AU Day of the African Child is commemorated every year on June 16 by Member States of the African Union and its partners.
“The occasion is a commemoration to recall the 1976 uprising in Soweto, when a protest by school children in South Africa against apartheid inspired education resulted in their deaths”, she said.
This year’s theme, “Access to a child friendly justice system in Africa”, presents an opportunity for all state actors to focus on their work and commitments towards the rights of children on the continent, and to consolidate their efforts at addressing the obstacles for the realization of those rights.
The occasion also presents the grounds for governments, international institutions and communities to review their ongoing commitments towards improving the plight of marginalized and the vulnerable, especially children.