Social factors like traditions and cultural practices like polygamy have also led to instances of one parent not taking responsibility of the family.
By Ivy Maloy
Since January 2021, cases of child neglect have been on the rise in Kisumu county as reported by the Children Department. According to the Child Protection Officer George Kidas, many children across sub-counties in Kisumu are now facing a bleak future due to lack of parental guidance and involvement in their lives.
“Since early January, we have been recording surging numbers of child neglect cases with a monthly average of 32 cases. These cases make up 90 per cent of all the cases we handle on a daily basis,” Kidas said.
There are three natures of child neglect cases and they include, child abduction, child custody and child defilement. Under defilement, a medical assessment is carried out on the victim followed up by a home visit by a Children’s officer to determine the state and relationship of the victim with the guardians. Factors that contribute to the rises of such cases are mostly social issues, financial constraints and domestic violence as they are the causes of child neglect.
Social factors like traditions and cultural practices like polygamy have also led to instances of one parent not taking responsibility of the family. Financial constraints due to the adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic which has triggered economic hardships, have contributed to many people living below the poverty line leading to children fleeing from home and turning to the streets for support.
As a way of curbing the increase of the cases, high levels of sensitization at the grassroots like villages through chiefs and chief barazas is being carried out in order to equip members of the public with the knowledge on the dangers of child neglect. Joint efforts with the police department and the Judiciary through the courts have ensured that the irresponsible guardians are held accountable for their actions.
The Children Act, Chapter 141 in the constitution stipulates that every child has a right to guardianship, protection, maintenance and care by their custodians. Child Protection Volunteers (CPV) in various areas across sub-counties have played a role in ensuring that the children subjected to parental neglect are rescued.
Other institutions like children’s homes such as Mama Ngina home and Agape home have provided a safe space for these young souls. “I appeal to parents to exercise family planning methods so that they can have the right number of children they can comfortably take care of,” urged Kidas.
SOURCES: Kenya News Agency