The government is in the process of rolling out children care reforms to ensure that children are brought up in families and communities.
The government has embarked on capacity building of state and non-state actors to empower them to implement the children care reforms between 2021-2030.
Director in Charge Of Strategic Intervention for Children in Emergencies at the Directorate of Children Service, Philip Nzenge, said the reforms are part of the paradigm shift embraced by the government to protect children.
“Care reforms is not about closing children homes but protecting the child,” he said adding that the reforms require holistic approach and collective responsibility.
Nzenge said the reforms would be implemented in three phases namely preparation and demonstration stage which runs between 2021-2023, scaling up of implementation 2023-2030 which will run concurrently with review and planning.
He was addressing a stakeholders’ meeting in Eldoret organised by UNICEF and County Department of Children Services led by County Coordinator, Julius Yator.
Nzenge said participants identified lack of legal representation for children, staffing gaps at the county children department and street connected children as some of the issues specific to Turkana County.
Lack of a holding place for children forcing them to be held in the same cells with adults was also brought up as a challenge.
“We have engaged the national legal aid and they have promised to support us and even shared a number 0800720640, that will be used to support children in need of legal representation,” said Nzenge.
Janet Mwema from the national children care services noted that research had indicated that children grow better in families as opposed to children care institutions hence the change in direction to ensure children grow up in their families.
“The purpose of this workshop is to ensure that actors in children matters in the Turkana County customize the national care reforms strategy to suit their county needs,” said Mwema.
On his part, Yator commended the Turkana County team for working as a team to address children matters. He called for continued support during the 10 year reforms journey.
By Peter Gitonga