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Monday, September 4, 2006

MoSD and NTF child nurturing centers meeting

Queen Rania meets with Ministry of Social Development and National Task Force to review draft regulation for child nurturing centers

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Last Ramadan Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah had met with the heads of local care centers and the Ministry of Social Development, and recognizing that there was a growing problem in the child nurturing centers around the Kingdom, she highlighted the need for new regulations to improve both the facilities and the quality of care. On Sunday, Her Majesty met with the National Task Force to review the new regulations before they are sent for approval by the Cabinet and the Legislative Authority.

Queen Rania said that the reason she got involved in such an effort is because "there's no one to protect [these children] and no one to speak for them". She also said that it is important to have an obvious and tangible change in the status quo to improve the lives of these children.

Although the focus of the conversation was on children, Her Majesty said it is also important that social care institutions do more to ensure that these children are not left behind once they reach 18 year of age. The nurturing process should continue when the children need it so that they will be able to help them selves in various situations. "That's why institutions like Al Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans are important- because they provide the missing link in after care programs for orphans," she said.

Under Her Majesty's direction, the task force aims to improve living conditions for children residing in care centers. Most of the children are orphans or victims of abuse who do not have a safe home to live in. The proposal includes the implementation of an efficient monitoring system whereby those in charge will ensure that once children leave the facilities their quality of life is maintained.

The task force also discussed the value of their social workers and the training methods that they will use. Minister of Social Development Suleiman Tarawneh said that the task force outlined a two-prong system for training where by the social workers who receive the training will be responsible for co-worker training. This will create an ongoing training system within the facilities.

Her Majesty stressed that it is not only important to train the social workers, but to provide a positive working environment for them. "Many of the women I've seen come in under harsh circumstances. They already have so much to worry about that they can't give their best to the children they are there to take care of," she said.

The task force is compromised of related stake holders including representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the ministry. To set the new guidelines, they combined international standards with their own real life experiences in childcare centers. Some of the specifications of the new regulations include the definition of a childcare center; the authorization process and building specifications; the criteria for social workers; and outlining of the violation and penalty systems. After discussing the new outlines, Her Majesty said that she hopes to see Jordan become a leader in childcare.

"I hope the situation improves to the point that there isn't a big difference in the living situation and opportunities between children who live with their families and those in care centers," she said.