Kouza clarifies orphanage issue

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday February 13th, 2014

 THERE is no legal framework to set up orphanages in the country, Parliament has been told.

Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Development Loujaya Kouza said under the Lukautim Pikinini Act, children could be taken up by relatives and social security networks, which should be encouraged.

“But the reality on the ground is that there is no legal framework yet for the setting up of orphanages,” she said

“Our churches, NGOs and individuals are setting up safe havens for abused children but not necessarily orphanages.

“For example, in my electorate (Lae), there are feeding places for street children and these are things evident in NCD and around the country.”

She said even in her own department, welfare officers found themselves in situations where they had to adopt children, after court rulings, because their parents were not available. 

Kouza said her department planned to address the issue as the first course of action during the development partners’ forum this month.

She said a task force of women headed by Dame Carol Kidu would be organised to look into the implementation of strategies involving outstanding conventions where women and children were concerned.

“This will be high on the agenda at the National Women’s Consultative workshop in March.”

She was responding to questions by National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop on the establishment of orphanages in the city and elsewhere in the country.

Parkop questioned whether there was a law under the Lukautim Pikinini Act to establish orphanages.

He asked if provincial governments could assist churches and non-government organisations that have established orphanages and if there was capacity for checks to be done on the operations of such establishments.