The State Department for Social Protection plans to strengthen the rehabilitation of street families within the community or family setup.
In a new policy document, the Department through the Street Family’s Rehabilitation Trust Fund, more and more of the street families will now be rehabilitated within the communities away from the infamous rehabilitation centers.
Addressing the press in Garissa, the family rehabilitation trust fund programme officer Christine Ondieki said that it is not a choice for the street families to leave their homes for the streets but there is a conscious choice to stay on the street.
Ondieki said that new national policy on rehabilitation of street families acknowledges the need to counter the root causes that lead persons to live and work on the streets and to guarantee respect and dignified life within their communities or families.
“Children are pushed into living and working on the street by many factors among them poverty, tribal displacement and now the effects of the Covid-19 among others,” Ondieki said.
Garissa Deputy County Commissioner Mr. Bernard Ole Kipury stressed the need for communities to embrace street families in the new strategy to rehabilitate outside the current setup.
Ole Kipury said that although Garissa has 337 people living in the streets, the number is expected to grow due to Covid-19 and thus the need to plan ahead.
According to the department of social protection, tens of millions of children are living or working on the streets. Their numbers keep growing due to population growth, urbanization and migration, particularly in the developing countries such as Kenya.
The department says there is need for a coordinated framework to support and empower vulnerable families to resilient livelihoods thus curtailing more persons from resorting to the streets, rescue those already in the streets and undertake rehabilitation programmes designed to make them self-reliant after reintegration into the community.
Coordination of such programmes will go a long way in the realization of a country free of street families which is in line with the country’s long-term development blueprint of the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
By Jacob Songok