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Children officer effort to end the child neglect

Rachuonyo South Sub County Children Officer Brian Saidi, seated in a quiet office nestled in a serene and leafy compound at the Sub County headquarter, Kosele, unravels the layers of child neglect in the region.

With years of experience as a frontline advocate of child issues, Saidi shares with KNA insights into the prevalent issues facing children in the area, the most common being child neglect and the remedial measures being undertaken by government.

“Neglect is often a silent crisis, affecting children’s well-being in profound ways,” he observes adding, “Our mission is to bring these issues to light and work collaboratively to create a safer environment for every child,” Saidi pointed out.

Saidi whose office has become a solemn space where stories of struggle and resilience among neglected children emerge, explains child neglect as violations of a child’s basic rights, a denial of the love, care and support that every child deserves.

The officer however said there were various ways through which the office tries to correct the situation.

For instance, where a parent or both parents have been reported for neglect at the Children’s offices, Saidi said the accused parent(s) is summoned and if the summon is responded to, then the accused are advised accordingly where the parties involved make a mutual agreement on the way forward concerning the welfare of their children.

“If the summonses are not responded to, then the office sends a rejoinder summon reminding the accused to follow instructions as requested,” he said.

In case of where both the primary summon and the rejoinder are not responded to, the accused parent is then referred to the police or court where an arrest warrant will be issued against the parent(s) and a case file for neglect opened, he explained.

However, the officer said in finding a long term solution with child neglect, the Children’s office conducts workshops that equip parents with essential parenting skills.

He said by addressing the root causes of neglect and providing tools for effective caregiving, they empower parents to create a nurturing environment for their children.

“Child neglect is a crisis usually caused by poverty, disputes between partners and also societal pressures which affect a child’s physical, emotional and psychological well-being,” Saidi said.

To address issues of poverty, the officer said they emphasize the need for long-term empowerment strategies like fostering economic opportunities, healthcare access, and community development.

Saidi says addressing the broader socio-economic factors contributing to neglect would reduce cases of child neglect reported almost daily in the sub county thus becoming a burden even to the government.

“Apart from workshops, we utilize online platforms to disseminate information, provide resources, and encourage dialogue among community members. This digital approach helps bridge gaps and ensures that even remote areas have access to crucial information and support,” he said.

Also, the Children Officer said, as an office, they focus on improving access to quality education for every child in the subcounty by providing education scholarships, after-school programmes, and mentorship opportunities for children to thrive academically, reducing vulnerability to neglect and opening doors to a brighter future.

“Our aim is to inspire continuous collaboration, innovation, and creating a safe, nurturing environment for every child in the sub county,” he said.

By Noela Adongo

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