Child Welfare Services
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Apostle Anthony Isaac - Executive Chairman of Saviour's Orphanage with three branches in Port Harcourt -- Rumuokoro, Rumukrushi and Woji.
If you caught up with Morning Crossfire show yesterday, you're welcome to a second run of the program. Today's title is a little bit different but the two are very much related. Attention is directed on child welfare services today and anyone from anywhere in the world who is interested is invited to join in the conversation.
The show looks at statistics and also personal experiences of people who have gone through orphanages, or people who know others that might have gone through the experience.
Wemimo Adewuni mentions that all over the world, there are reports of possible abuse and child neglect. Child welfare services provide services not just to children but to families that need assistance in caring for their children. These services include arranging for children to live with foster families when the children are not safe at home because of child abuse. There’s also a probability of reunion or connection between a child and his or her family.
Sheriff Quadry comments that no Lagos official could be reached this morning, hence the journey to Rivers State.
Apostle Anthony Isaac says that children are very difficult to control but they’re a joy to the family. “If you are with them each day, you can’t be sad.” Since Apostle Isaac runs three orphanages in Port Harcourt. He seems to be in a good standing to share his wealth of knowledge on this issue.
In his comments, Apostle Isaac mentions his difficult background as one reason why he decided to start an orphanage just to help young ones who went through the same kind of things he experienced as an orphan who was ignored, thereby passing through pain, hunger, and isolation.
There are about 70 children divided into three orphanages in Rivers State. How do they get the children?
He says the following: “We get these children from interior villages. We look for those who don’t have what to wear, eat and they were not going to school.” He has been doing this since 2012. Funding come from churches, companies, individuals, and cooperatives. The funds are used to service things such as food, clothing, medical expenses and so on.
The orphanages not registered under the Ministry are the ones doing bad things. They even keep pregnant girls. After the girl delivers and leaves, they carry the child and sell to anyone who wants to buy.
“Almost every day, people come to us for adoption. We are registered under the Ministry of Social Welfare have been told to only adopt children who come from homes and they have a surname. So, we can’t just adopt a child without the help of the Ministry. The orphanages not registered under the Ministry are the ones doing bad things. They even keep pregnant girls. After the girl delivers and leaves, they carry the child and sell to anyone who wants to buy.”
Commenting on who or how to adopt, Apostle Isaac says not all children that are seen in orphanages are up for adoption.
He says the orphanages stop giving them care when they reach 18 years and can do some work to earn money. “We usually find handwork. We take them back to their families but ensure that they could be self-dependent.”
In the meantime, Sheriff also put forward the fears that may live in the mind of those who may want to adopt. What does foster parenting involve? Could the child be from illegal means or from child trafficking?
But a scary note comes from an annonymous caller who says she works with Lagos State government. She claims she got a baby from Edo State after a very stressful time. The family was only sending documents but the adoption costs more than a million naira.
So, how expensive should the cost of adoption be in Nigeria?