The origin of the Department of Children’s Services now in the Ministry of labour, social security and services can be traced back to the Colonial era, when it existed as a Juvenile Correctional Institution. Its earliest correctional and rehabilitation institution, the then Kabete Approved School (now Kabete Rehabilitation School) was built between 1910 and 1912, in the lower Kabete area.
The school was founded to cater for youth who had been imprisoned for failing to register themselves or their inability to carry the identity card (Kipande).With the reorganization and prior to the attainment of independence, the Approved Schools were up-graded into a fully-fledged Department under the repealed Children and Young Persons Act Cap 141. Initially, the Department was known as the Department of Approved Schools but after independence it became Children's Department, hereby referred to as the Department of Children’s Services.
The department draws its mandate from the constitution of Kenya under section 53 and the children’s Act 2001.
A society where children become responsible citizens through fulfillment of their prescribed rights and welfare.
To safeguard the rights and welfare of all children in Kenya through implementation of relevant policies, coordination, supervision and delivery of services.
- To increase coverage by building organizational capacity.
- To effectively co-ordinate Alternative family care services
- To co-ordinate care and protection for children in Kenya
- To increase the capacity of families and communities taking care of OVCs
- To co-ordinate delivery of services to children in institutions
- To protect children from violence, trafficking and exploitation
- Maintain Updated data on children issues in Kisii County
- Advocating For the Rights of Children.
The Constitution and the Children’s Act protect numerous rights for children.
They include right to life, parental care, education-free compulsory basic education, religious education subject to appropriate parental guidance, health and medical care and protection from economic exploitation and any work that is likely to be hazardous or harmful to the child, and from taking part in hostilities or in armed conﬂicts. Children have a right to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities. Every child has a right to a name and a nationality, protection from abuse and against harmful cultural practices, and from sexual exploitation and use in prostitution.
- Enhancing Child Participation
The concept of children’s assemblies in Kenya aims at instilling in children principles of participation that is crucial in promotion, inclusion, equality and development of democratic values in children. This creates the need to establish children’s assemblies in regions and counties in Kenya, so as to achieve the stated aims. In the county we have children’s assembly comprising of 40 members. Each sub county has 5 delegates. The assembly has a children’s Governor, Deputy Governor, speaker, and a Clerk.
- Rehabilitation Services
The Children’s Services Department in Kenya currently runs 10 children rehabilitation schools, 12 children’s remand homes and three children’s rescue centers. The rehabilitation school handles children who have passed through the justice system for rehabilitation, whereas the remand homes handle children who are on trial within the justice system. Rescue centre’s handles children who are in distress. Apparently the county does not have neither of the above, but there is need of having a rescue centre.
- Charitable Children’s Institutions
Charitable children’s institutions in Kenya is a home or institution established by a person or corporate, a religious organization or a non-governmental organization and has been granted approval by the National Council for Children’s Services to manage a programme for the care, protection, rehabilitation or control of children.
The Area advisory council where the department is the secretariat recommends to National Council for Children Services which homes are to be registered in relation the Charitable Children’s Institutions regulations of 2005. Currently the county has 10 registered institutions. The categories of children placed in CCIs range from those who are abandoned, neglected, abused, orphaned, street children and children with disabilities. The division offers these children services such as food, shelter, clothing, education, medical care, guidance and spiritual well being.
- Alternative Family Care Services
Alternative care for children is a formal or informal arrangement whereby a child is looked after outside the parental home, either by a decision of the administrative accredited authority or at the initiative of the child, his/her parents caregivers .alternative are services include kinship care, guardianship, foster care, institution care, adoption. The department offers and foresees this kind of arrangements, though there is a dire need of sensitizing the members of the community on the needs of the children.
National Council for Children’s Services in Kenya – NCCS:
The enactment of the Children’s Act, 2001, was a major milestone in the provision of the necessary legal framework for the promotion and the protection of children’s rights and welfare in Kenya. It domesticated and incorporated the provisions of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Children (UN CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC)
The Act established statutory structures, among them the National Council for Chi1dren’s Services (N CCS), which is mandated to exercise general supervision and control over the planning, financing and coordination of child rights and welfare activities and to advice the Government on all aspects thereof..
There are area advisory councils (AACs) which are generally guided by the NCCS. Their primary functions are to protect the rights and welfare of children in their jurisdiction, supervise and regulate planning, financing and coordination of children’s welfare programmes, mobilize resources and facilitate funding, promote and create public awareness on child rights and child protection and facilitate partnership, linkages and networking.
In the county we have four Area Advisory Councils which spearheads on the children issues within the sub county. We are yet to establish six AACs In the other sub counties. The councils need capacity building for effectiveness and efficiency of delivery of service.
- Cash Transfer to Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Cash transfer is a social safety net programme which provides a regular and predicable cash transfer to poor households taking care of orphans and vulnerable children. This is done through community targeting with elected members of the community Due to limited source of funds it is not a universal programme. The programme is implemented by the sub county children’s officer ,it has specific objectives and conditional ties that have to be adhered .The beneficiaries are paid through the post offices close to them, they are paid ksh 4000 on bi-monthlybasis.Currently the programme is operational in 22 locations in the county. In every sub county there are at least 2 locations benefiting with a total of 5445 households benefiting from the program me within the entire county.
Within the county we have established 4 offices 1 county office, and 3 sub county offices. Plans are under way to establish 2 more offices. This is due to inadequate staff. In view of the above the department encourages volunteerism. In the county we have 26 appointed volunteer children’s officers who offer their services on voluntary basis.
The county has a population of 1,152,000 of whom 642,000 are children aged below 18 years, this is according to the 2009 population and housing census. This indicates more protection measures and structures be put in place to nurture and safeguard their rights and welfare.
- Gender responsive
- Team spirit.