About 150 Ugandan children are to be integrated into SOS childcare families, the national director, Ms Oliver Birungi Lumonya, has revealed.
“We have been able to trace families of these children, however, all the 150 will not be taken at once but their families have been traced. Once we integrate these children, we shall still monitor them, support them in various ways like acquiring education so that they still live the same life they have been living while still at SOS,” she said on Tuesday during the launch of the Tracking progress initiative (TPI) which will pilot in five countries including; Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, held at K Hotel in Entebbe.
According to Ms Birungi, this project aims at strengthening evidence-based national alternative care policies, management information systems focusing on children that have lost or are at risk of losing parental care.
“In Uganda, there has been a challenge of tracking children in alternative care, most of the existing data on children in alternative care is limited to children in residential care/childcare institutions, and through this project, we will be able to contribute and add value to the existing management information systems like the OVC MIS in Uganda thus fulfilling the recent passed UN resolution on children without parental care,” she said.
Ms Birungi added that data on children in alternative care is sparse, fragmented, often unreliable and extremely difficult to collect.
“Factors for scarce or poor quality data include limited resources, low political will, and regulatory loopholes among others. As a result, many countries do not have functional systems for producing accurate figures on the children living in all types of alternative care which results into failure of states and stakeholders to properly allocate resources for alternative care to effectively protect the best interests of children,” she said.
The State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Ms Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, said over 7 million children worldwide are deprived of their rights; of which about 410,000 children are in detention; 330,000 are on move because of detention their parents, and estimated 5.4 million children are in residential care and or being institutionalised.
“It is evident that a number of children are being affected by violence and are deprived of their rights. Therefore there is need to provide comprehensive up to date and aggregated data on the children in various forms of alternative care and any form of violation that deprives them of their rights,” she said.
Ms Nakiwala added: “As governments we are committed to improve data management for children who have lost parental care. We are working with our partners to ensure data management, collection and use are in the best interest of the child. We shall ensure that they receive the quality care given the principle of suitability and necessity.”
Mr Samuel Sanders, the international programs manager for modernization and effectiveness SOS Children’s village Norway said: “This project will run for two years and will cost $1 million in order to establish national inter-sectoral groups for alternative care and child protection.”