SOS Children’s Village, Ghana

Focus 12: Preparation for leaving care and aftercare support  

The number of children requiring out-of-home care in Ghana has increased in the last two decades because of the growing incidence of poverty and HIV/AIDS. With the gradual disintegration of the extended family system, residential care has become the main form of substitute care. As a result, many care leavers are unprepared for adulthood and face challenges such as poverty and unemployment. Few countries in Africa have mandated the provision of services to support young people leaving care, and such a scheme is indeed lacking in Ghana.

The SOS Children’s Village in Tema was established in 1974 to provide support to abandoned and destitute children. It has a specialised programme for preparing its residents for independence through youth homes, located in nearby communities, where young people live together with the support of a group leader and have an opportunity to develop independent living skills in preparation for adulthood.

As in many other cases, an independent evaluation found young adults who had exited the village did experience a number of challenges in their preparation for leaving care including finance, accommodation and cultural skills. However, they were able to use a variety of sources in preparing for adulthood including the SOS ‘mother’ and youth facilities and the secondary school boarding houses.

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Also see: Manso, K.A.F (2012) Preparation for Young People Leaving Care: The Case of SOS Children's Village, Ghana, Child Care in Practice , 18 (4), 341-356. DOI:10.1080/13575279.2012.713850

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID