The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection is working out on a policy to streamline integration of street families to communities.
Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund is currently doing public participation before finalizing the policy that will also support and empower vulnerable families to revert to resilient livelihoods.
A board member with the Trust Fund Mburu Waiganjo observed Tuesday that once the policy is put in place, better ways will be used to integrate street families with their relatives among other members of the community.
The policy, once is put in place, will help curtail more persons from resorting to streets, rescue those already there and undertake rehabilitation programmes designed to make them self-reliant after integration into the community.
Speaking during public participation function held in Murang’a to collect views from the residents on the policy, Waiganjo noted that the majority of the street children have relatives and the best way to remove them from streets is to connect them with their relatives in the community.
“We are working on a coherent framework to rehabilitate street families by ensuring the members are integrated back into the community. We realized some methods which have been used in the past to deal with street families were not successful,” said Waiganjo.
The framework, he noted, will also help to counter the root causes that lead persons to live and work on the streets and to guarantee them respect and dignified lives.
He said after taking the street families back to the community, the members will be linked with relevant government funds like those meant to assist youth, women and vulnerable children.
At the same time, the government is also working out on modalities to close down children orphanages which were established by some individuals with aim of minting money from donors.
“Licenses of such children homes have been cancelled as some of those who initiated them only wanted to use vulnerable children to make money. In some other towns, there are also pockets of people misusing street children through begging and trafficking of drugs,” Waiganjo further explained.
According to the national census of street families conducted in 2018, the number of people living on and connected to the streets in Kenya stood at 46, 639.
Counties with high concentration of street persons include Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu and Nakuru.
Waiganjo urged Kenyan communities to accept and live with persons who have been living in streets once the integration process is finalized.
By Bernard Munyao