Charitable Children Institutions (CCIs) are the most visible organizations in the communities offering first line care, support and protection to children in need of care and protection yet most overshadowed, underrepresented and exploited by individuals, volunteers and organizations who purport to be supporting them.
Besides these, they are also condemned due to malpractices by the communities, child focused organizations and the government.
The the Association of Charitable Children Institutions of Kenya (ACCIK) works with registered CCIs and adoption agencies for the best interest of the child. The organization is deeply concerned about the rising cases of child trafficking in Kenya. It is sad to note that according to US State Department report on human trafficking 2018, the Government of Kenya does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.
Moreover, the country has also been mapped as a source, destination and transit for trafficking and in most of these cases, vulnerable children are the most susceptible to this criminal activity. The government should address the push and pull factors and social determinants that make children vulnerable to trafficking.
It is unfortunate that some people with ulterior motives have turned child rescuing and adoption into trafficking. This is wrong and misleading. Rescuing of children in need of care and protection and their placement in CCIs and exiting them through adoption and foster care is provided for in Children Act 2001 among other Kenyan laws as well as international laws.
After all, the government has established a three-year placement policy of children to CCIs and this allows CCIs to exit children through alternative family care if they can’t be reintegrated back to society. As the law stipulates, Child Adoption is supposed to be done by a society registered by National Adoption Committee and placement of children is only supposed to be done in a registered CCI.
CCIK’s stand is clear:if there is any CCI or adoption society in the country that is unregistered and is holding children or processing child adoption, the government should not only shut it down but also prosecute those behind it instead of giving a blanket condemnation to the entire CCI’s fraternity.
On the other hand, the government should support the duly registered CCIs which serve as rescue centres for children in need of care and protection. It’s ironical to note that the same people that have been linking adoption and rescuing of children to child trafficking have been getting taxpayers’ money to build the so called
The question that begs is, why build new CCIs instead of supporting the existing ones. After all, there is a move the world over for deinstitutionalization! Who is behind this proposal and who stands to gain from these projects. ACCIK holds the view that government should support and strengthen existing institutions provided in the Children Act 2001 instead of creating new ones.
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The National Council for Children Services (NCCS) and Department of Children Services remain underfunded. Why not empower these institutions? Recently, there has been an attempt to sneak in mutilated children laws as well as clamour for new laws on adoption, foster care as well as regulation of CCI’s yet this year stakeholders validated in consensus the children and amendment Bill 2018 that has taken care of all these.
What happened to this bill? The government should be clear on the roles of NCCS, the body mandated to oversee policy review and implemention in Kenya. The NCCS was not been in place between October 2016 up to October 2018, making it hard for registered CCI’s to renew their registration, yet the same government is quick to condemn CCIs for noncompliance. Quite a paradox!