Institute lauds UNICEF for capacity strengthening of child protection, case management
By: Femi Mustapha
The Borstal Training Institution, Ganmo, Ilorin, Kwara State, has commended the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for improving the capacity of its welfare officers in tracking progress of rehabilitated children.
The institution’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Bamigbad Oluranti, made the commendation in Ilorin on Saturday, at the end of a four-day training on child protection and case management.
The training was organised for social workers, NGOs, and service providers, by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Kwara Ministry for Social Development and Save the Future of Children Initiative (SAFIN).
Oluranti said that the mandate of the institute was to rehabilitate and reintegrate delinquent children back to the society.
The spokesperson, who also participated in the training, said it had equipped the welfare officers with the needed skills to carry out their tasks of tracking the progress of rehabilitated children in communities.
“We have learnt a lot, particularly on how we can do follow-up visits after rehabilitation of delinquent children to ensure they are making progress in their new life.
“The training has equipped us with the needed skills for documentation and follow up with the children, to make sure that they were well reintegrated into the society to become useful citizens.
“The series of training had also increased our understanding of how to rehabilitate and reintegrate children in contact with the law, back to society.
“Personally, I have acquired new skills and the capacity building has broadened my horizon in handling children in line with international best practices,” he said.
UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Ms Nkiru Maduechesi, explained that the 113 children were among the 218 and adults released from the institution.
Maduechesi said that their freedom was facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Justice, Presidential Committee on Correctional Reform and Decongestion, and Nigeria Correctional Service, supported by UNICEF and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime.
She said that the support was under the European Union-funded strengthening access to justice for children on the move and other vulnerable children project.
She said that the project sought to strengthen the capacity of the government, social workers, NGOs, parents, and caregivers to provide adequate care for the children.
According to her, the project will also help critical stakeholders to provide children with the needed mental, health and psychosocial support in addition to the vocational and educational opportunities they need.
“This will enable them to live a meaningful and productive life and will contribute to the growth and development of their families and their communities free of violence, abuse, and neglect.”
She said that social workers were being supported to use the Child Protection Management Information System (CPIMS) to help them undertake systematic and professional child protection case management.
She explained that the case management would enable the government to effectively track the services being provided with a user-friendly and accountable manner.
Also, Dr Wilfred Mamah, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, described child protection as the prevention and response to violence, abuse, and neglect.
Mamah said that most times children committed offences due to lack of parental care, poverty, and some because they were out of school.
He pointed out that even those that were above school age did not have any skills or trade that would make them useful, so they would commit all kinds of offences.
He said that the project would link the children to where they would acquire skills for trade and give them little start-up capital to help them start their lives.
“Eventually, many of them will emerge as entrepreneurs and because they are economically engaged, they will not commit offences,” he said.