Kenya takes next steps to replace children’s homes with family care

Julia Sloth-Nielsen - The Conversation

In this article for the Conversation, Julia Sloth-Nielsen provides an overview of recent efforts in Kenya to shift from institutional care of children to family-based care and family strengthening to prevent separation. According to Sloth-Nielsen, "two years ago Kenya announced a long-term action plan to end the institutionalisation of children. It also placed a moratorium on the registration of institutions." And, according to the article, Kenya has recently expanded upon those policy efforts, including through a declaration to protect the rights of children signed by the governor of Murang'a county in central Kenya. "The governor’s commitments include enacting a Children’s Bill to enhance protection, strengthening the county’s social work force, and establishing a children’s office and ombudsperson," says the article.

Sloth-Nielsen also writes about the "orphan industrial complex" present in Kenya and other countries in which "residential care institutions, which are often not registered with authorities, are being fuelled by money obtained through donations and 'voluntourism'. This means that children’s rights are often violated."