In 2019, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and the Office of the Head of the Local Government Service (OHLGS), with close collaboration from Ghana Health Services (GHS), Ministry of Local Government Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD), National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the Ministry of Finance (MoF/FDU) and UNICEF embarked on an initiative to strengthen the delivery of decentralized and Integrated Social Services (ISS).
The rationale for strengthening the delivery of integrated social services is to prevent and respond to violence against children and help address multi-dimensional poverty and vulnerability, with a strong focus on promoting linkages between health, child protection, sexual and gender-based violence, and social protection services which comes from the Coordinated Programme and the National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework 2018-2021 and 2022-2025 (NMTDPF).
The implementation of this approach is already ongoing in 100 MMDAs in 2021 (starting with 60 MMDAs in 2020). The strategy uses the social welfare system as the entry point to strengthen its overall capacity and methods of local social welfare offices, empowering them through updated operating procedures, capacity and innovative use of resources.
Strengthening the social welfare workforce at the sub-national level is at the centre of this due to its critical role in supporting children and families by alleviating poverty; identifying and managing risks; preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and family separation; and facilitating access to and delivery of social services to enhance child and family well-being.
This workforce strengthening will support ongoing efforts to promote outreach to and access of poor and vulnerable households to health services through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by strengthening linkages with social protection programmes such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
Finally, it will also support or develop the coordination, procedures, training and data management systems necessary to support inter-sectoral linkages and referrals.
Goal and Objectives of the Integrated Social Services (ISS) Initiative
Poverty and vulnerabilities of children and families are reduced through increased access to an integrated set of social services.
>> Support MMDAs in implementing the policy objectives of the NMTDPF related to child and family welfare and social protection.
>> Strengthen capacity, coordination, and systems at the local and national level required to enable sustainable delivery of integrated services with a focus on child protection, social protection and health services.
>> Support MMDAs to be able to access funding from different funding arrangements, primarily District Development Facility / DACF/RFG/IGF related to social and child protection programme.