230 children have, so far, been reunited with their families, this year alone, in an effort to ensure that children living in orphanages are reintegrated into homes.
This was disclosed by Benilde Uwababyeyi, a Child Protection Specialist in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), in an exclusive interview with The New Times.
Uwababyeyi noted that the number is likely to increase once all figures for the second quarter come in.
“The process of reintegration started with Mpore Mpefa Orphanage, in Kicukiro District, but we shall move on to other orphanages. We have to find all the required information before taking the children into families,” Uwababyeyi said.
She stated that there are 3,830 children living in orphanages, up from 3,769 last year.
Uwababyeyi said that they still face a challenge in tracing the families and relatives of the children. She further pointed out that some families were unwilling to have their children back or admit to having abandoned them.
A National Commission for Children, whose establishment is awaiting parliament’s approval, is expected to have representatives countrywide, to help with the integration process.
This will help in the implementation of policies geared on reintegrating children and following up on how they are treated in their homes, Uwababyeyi said..
Gender and Family Promotion, Minister Aloisea Inyumba, explained that the government adopted a policy to reintegrate children in orphanages into families to find alternative family care for those without parents or relatives through national adoption or foster placement.
“We also want to integrate into the community orphans aged 18 years or more who are still living in the orphanages.
“This process takes time and is carried out through various steps, including assessment of each child’s family status, family tracing, assessment and counselling, and follow up of children once they are integrated into their families or foster families,” the minister noted.
According to a statement from MIGEPROF, between 2010 and 2011, 355 children in orphanages, whose parents or relatives were unknown, after careful investigation, were placed in foster families.
Orphans with no known families who could not be offered alternative family care have stayed in orphanages that continue to receive financial and technical support from the government and its partners.