Meru County Area Advisory Council has engaged community and faith-based organization in the battle against child abuse and neglect.
Speaking during a public sensitization and participation meeting in Imenti North sub-county, County Director, Children Services, Olive Kamau said people at the village level had a crucial role to play for the new Child Care Reform Strategy to have an impact and a change of mind.
Kamau said working with community and religious leaders was inevitable as far as implementing and enforcing any law geared towards enhancing child care and protection was concerned at all levels in the community.
She said the county team had resolved to move out of boardroom meetings, with more emphasis on reaching out to the people where most of the children in need of care and protection from various forms of abuse live.
The director said a comprehensive programme had already been rolled out through sub-county, location and sub-location Child Care Reform committees to spearhead adequate awareness creation on how an individual or a group of people can use existing alternative ways of taking care of children, under the protection of the law.
Kamau expressed regret that cases of children being abused and neglected by people expected to protect them at family level was rampant in the county, hence the need to cascade information related to taking care of children at the grassroot level where most cases happen.
“It is very unfortunate that most of the child abuse and neglect cases happening in the villages go unreported due to various reasons, including cultural standings, all at the expense of the child,” Kamau said.
She reiterated that national government administrative officers had been properly trained and sensitized on what role they were expected to play in ensuring children in their areas of jurisdiction live safely, happily and sustainably in family and community-based care, their family background and status notwithstanding.
The director further said with the prevailing drought situation in most parts of the county, children were likely to be misused in disguise of being saved from staying hungry both at family and community level, adding that law enforces and other child protection stakeholders should remain on high alert to bring perpetrators to book for appropriate legal action.
“Nobody is better placed to identify and give accurate information on a child likely to be undergoing abuse or subjected to other forms of neglect, than the chief, assistant chief, and area managers. These are the people who interact very closely with the people on a day to day basis,”’ Kamau said.
By Makaa Margaret