People must understand that putting children in state care is not a tenable solution to address issues facing children, stated President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
He made the statement in his remarks at the launch of the Child Rights Symposium - organized by the Children’s Ombudsperson Office and UNICEF Maldives – at Crossroads Maldives on Wednesday morning.
President Solih said strong familial ties were crucial to the safety and wellbeing of children.
He said that children needed a home environment with strong familial ties in order to grow up feeling safe and loved, and that the government was running multiple programs aimed at strengthening domestic relations.
President Solih said that no matter how much kindness and care the state may show to children under their care, nothing can fill the hole left from being denied parental love.
“Taking children into state care is not the only solution to these issues. What’s the best for their future is to find a way for them to live with their family, as part of the community,” he said.
President Solih said the Gender Ministry had opened safe homes in six islands, and moved children in in state shelters in Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’ to the facilities in order to offer them a better social and family environment.
President Solih said Maldives needed to work on multiple fronts in order to protect the rights of children.
One of the greatest and most pressing responsibilities is to protect children from the scourge of drugs, he said.
President Solih said the Child Rights Symposium comes at a time of great need for such a conference. He expressed hope discussions during the symposium will help identify challenges to protecting the rights of children in Maldives, and come up with solutions to the issue.
President Solih was presented with a booklet on the symposium during the ceremony.
The two-day Child Rights Symposium will conclude Thursday.