Nakuru County Government has been urged to construct and equip a child rescue center in Naivasha to provide care to the distressed children and the disabled.
Naivasha Children’s Officer, John Chege, said that the Center will be a safe haven for the neglected children and those suffering from sexual and physical abuse.
Chege said that child neglect cases have been on the rise in the last one year comprising 70 per cent of the total 2,200 cases that the office handled but regretted the lack of proper facilities to house the victims.
He said the increase in neglect cases has been attributed to high poverty levels, loss of jobs in flower farms and hotel industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic and rising cases of marriage break-ups in young families.
The Children’s Officer said that most of the affected areas are in urban areas and in the informal settlements of Kihoto, Kabati, KCC, Karagita and Mai-Mahiu, where cases of sexual and physical assault and early child marriages, are also on the rise.
Speaking to KNA in Naivasha, the Children’s Officer noted that the increase has also led to rapid rise in school drop-out among pupils and an increase in the number of street children in major market centers in Naivasha.
At the same time, Chege called on the County to invest in social provision services and engage relevant stakeholders for public sensitization forums on issues of parenting and marriage counselling.
“The rise in child neglect cases is worrying and control measures should be put in place to reverse it,” she said.
Though most of the cases are solved through mediation, Chege said lack of a national legal aid services center in Naivasha has proved difficult for court cases to proceed as most of the accused persons are in the low income bracket.
By Erastus Gichohi and Calvin Osiemo