Safety concerns for under-15 house helpers living with their non-biological parents in Nigeria: A call to revamp social protection strategies

Safety concern, house helpers, social protection, social worker, Nigeria




house helpers, social protection, social workers, Nigeria, Safety concersn


Traditionally, the Nigeria system provides different reasons why children move from their biological parents to homes of non-biological parent, older relatives, and other social networks. While it is true that any form of under-aged labour mete on a child is illegal, certain cultural and social patterns are the reasons for the promotion of this phenomenon. Common among these reasons is the lack of resources to provide care and cater for the child (ren), death of the biological parents, and/or the parent wishing the child grows under tough conditions that supposedly makes the child a responsible adult. Notwithstanding these reasons, there are concerns that have been raised pertaining to the welfare of under-aged children in this setting, as it is reported that a considerable number of under-aged children suffer abuse, humiliation and other hazards. While this practice of raising children has grown to be popular and approved by communities in Nigeria, little is said about the abusive concerns that have been fastened to the practice. This study underscores the reasons for the persistence of these abusive concerns, despite the presence of the 2003 Child Rights Act. It advocates for a revamping of Nigeria’s social protection space, signposting the relevance of social workers to such cause. Data was sourced through in-depth interview organized for 10 respondents (five parents and five house helpers). Analysis was done thematically. Themes derived from the study showed that safety concerns as regards under-aged helpers are non-existent and this increases the severity of mental, emotional and physical damages faced by the under-aged children. It is clear that there is a dire need for Nigerian government to set up and implement well-coordinated social protection measures and programmes for vulnerable children and their households. These well-coordinated social protection measures will help to keep these vulnerable children within the safety net of their family.

Author Biographies

Chinyere Onalu, University of Nigeria, Department of Social Work

Chinyere Onalu is a lectuerer and reseacher in the Department of Social Work, University of Nigeria, with a keen interest in areas of public health-related issues.

Blessing Ramsey-Soroghaye, University of Port Harcourt, Assistant Lecturer

Blessing Ngowari Ramsey-Soroghaye research interests include areas of qualitative research, health promotion, women and child well-being. She pays particular interest to issues of abuse, violence and inequalities with the at-risk population.

Paulinus Sunday Okah, University of Nigeria, Department of Social Work

Okah, Paulinus Sunday is a lecturer in the Department of Social Work, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His area of interest lies in social policy/administration and developmental social work.


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How to Cite

Onalu, C., Ramsey-Soroghaye, B., & Okah, P. S. (2023). Safety concerns for under-15 house helpers living with their non-biological parents in Nigeria: A call to revamp social protection strategies: Safety concern, house helpers, social protection, social worker, Nigeria. Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 24(1), 112-129.