Why govt wants to shut down all private children’s homes

The government is mulling the closure of all existing private children’s homes as it draws up plans to establish its own public children’s rescue centres.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary (CS) Florence Bore said the establishment of state-owned public rescue centres will make child trafficking in the country more difficult.

The CS noted that poor management and lack of proper monitoring of private rescue centres allows unscrupulous people to continue trafficking in children.

She said the government in partnership with well-wishers will work towards having government-managed rescue centres where affected children can be kept for a while before being reintegrated into families and the community.

Bore, who visited the Murang’a Rescue Centre run by the Child Welfare Society of Kenya, stressed the need to protect the rights of every child.

She said members of the public have a responsibility to report cases of neglected or abandoned children in their areas.

“Rescue centres are where neglected or abandoned children are kept and cared for before being reintegrated with their families or community members. I appeal to the public to report cases of abandoned or neglected children to the relevant authorities so that they can be helped,” she added.

The CS told journalists that rescued children should not stay in the rescue centres for long, as the institutions are meant to keep them for a while before a solution is found.

“The government’s goal is to integrate all children with families and members of society so that they can grow up in a family environment and be raised to be responsible members of society,” she noted, explaining that people can adopt children without families from the centres.

The CS praised members of the public who have supported the children held in the rescue centres, especially by paying their school fees.

“I appeal to more well-wishers to support these children as the government is also working to ensure that they are properly reintegrated into society,” he remarked.

Irene Mureithi, the director of the Murang’a Rescue Centre, noted that the facility has become overcrowded in recent times and appealed for more funds to expand the facility.

“The centre currently has a population of 132 children against a capacity of about 110. 82 of them are in different schools and 50 are between three and 10 years old.

Mureithi said they are working in collaboration with the government to integrate the children back into society saying the centre is just a temporary place to hold children for emergency cases.

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