African Press International (API)

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Posted by African Press International on July 3, 2018

  • By Dickens Wasonga.

    The Government has launched a pilot project that will see the state  provide alternative family care services for children in the country. The objective of the of the implementation of the alternative family care services will be to strengthen the overall promotion and protection of  the best interest and equal rights of children who are denied family and community care currently Launched in Kisumu county as a pilot,  the project will be rolled out countrywide so as  to support and improve alternative care provision to children deprived of  parental care .

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    According to the principal secretary, state department for social protection , pensions and senior citizens affairs Ms Susan Mochache,  the program is in line with the alternative family care guidelines 2014 and the national plan of action on children in Kenya 2015-2022.
    The PS told a stakeholder  meeting in Kisumu  recently that Kenya is steadily moving away from residential care of children to family and community based care .
    This she noted was due to the recognition of the adverse effects that institutionalization has on the developmental outcomes and well-being of children ” It is in this regard that efforts ere being made to encourage family and community based care so as to reduce the numbers of children living in institutional care ” she said

    The  United Nations guidelines for alternative family care of children 2009 encourages efforts to have children taken care of within their families and where this is not possible , the state should provide for appropriate alternative family care services .

    These includes adoption, guardianship, kinship care , foster care and other forms of family based care, or supervised independent living arrangements as a way of promoting the child’s well-being.
    The government recommends that, in order to mitigate on the negative effects of institutionalizing child protection  and care, efforts by various stakeholders must be channeled towards addressing the underlying reasons for decisions to place children in residential care in the first place. Factors such as poverty, family breakdown , disability and the lack of alternatives to residential cares requires holistic responses , according to the ministry so as to identify families at risk and address their needs to avoid placement of children in residential care facilities. As a step into ensuring the best interest of children is safeguarded , the ministry of labor and social protection under the state department of social protection , jointly with stakeholders , developed the alternative family care guidelines for children in 2014
    The guidelines are in tune with the the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child .

  • These guidelines provides harmonized national guidance for child welfare and protection practitioners in order to improve the quality of family support and alternative care services in the country.
  • The PS stated that the government will continue to provide social assistance to vulnerable groups such as children through cash transfers to orphans and other vulnerable children which currently cover over 353,000 households countrywide.

    Kisumu county, currently has a total of 12,460 households benefiting from the cash transfer program for orphans and vulnerable children .

    Although such efforts has greatly had a positive impact on the lives of our children, a lot more still  needs to be done.  Issues of child abuse and molestation, high pregnancy cases among teenagers, child neglect and other forms of  child labor especially in the fishing communities is still a worrying trend that need to be looked at.


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