The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Fund) with support from the Andalucia’s Regional Government of Spain have inaugurated the Julie-Ta Children’s Home, an interim care center for children affected by the impact of COVID-19.
The ‘Julie-Ta Children’s Home,’ which is interpreted in the Kru local language as ‘Home for children,’ is located on the GSA Road Community in Paynesville City and was dedicated on July 18, 2020.
It provides alternative care services for approximately 30 children whose parents or caregivers are infected by the pandemic.
Gender Minister Madam Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, who cut the ribbon during the dedication, said provision of care and support for vulnerable children is complex, especially during an emergency period.
“Children whose parents or caregivers are admitted to treatment units require special attention and protection to ensure their safety and wellbeing,” she told participants at the program.
She said her ministry was very happy for opening the interim care center.
“It is important to have a safe space for children as we don’t want children to be at risk if their parents or caregivers are infected. We know that there are families who need help and that’s why we have temporary space to separate children from infected parents, she said.
She further mentioned that the Liberian government is appreciative of the kind support from the Andalucia’s Regional Government for coming to the aid of the people of Liberia amid the pandemic.
Laila O. Gad, UNICEF Representative to Liberia, said in the context of Liberia, the initiative is based upon the Ebola experience and, as such, the center will prove crucial for protecting children separated from their families.
“This facility will provide protection, health, and psychosocial support services to children while they stay under close observation by trained social workers and receive regular visits by health workers,” she said.
“It will become a strong collaboration between the different ministries, the community, and religious leaders, and the acceptance of the community that made ‘Julie-Ta’ a reality,” she added.
According to her, with support from partners and Andalucia’s Regional Government of Spain, Liberia can go a long way to support and help children.
The establishment of the interim care center brought together different partners from ministries of Health and Gender. These partners will work closely with communities to prepare the facility and, more importantly, to train and equip social workers with the knowledge and required training to care for the children.
The National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Augustine A.K Allieu expressed his institution’s commitment to working with the government and partners, to ensure that children are properly cared for during the pandemic.
“We are supporting children affected by COVID-19 in treatment units and working with other partners to support the government’s effort in defeating the virus. We collaborated with the Ministry of Gender and UNICEF to ensure the training of caretakers here at the interim care center,” he explained.