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Kenya

Demographic Data

40.8
Gini Coefficiency
World Bank, 2015
47.50 million
Total Population
Census, 2019
46%
Percent Population Under 18
 
Census, 2019
Lower Middle Income Country
World Bank GNI Status
World Bank, 2015
i
Progressed to lower middle income status in 2015. Kenya has made significant political, structural and economic reforms that have largely driven sustained economic growth, social development and political gains over the past decade. However, its key development challenges still include poverty, inequality, climate change, continued weak private sector investment and the vulnerability of the economy to internal and external shocks. While economic activity faltered following the 2008 global economic recession, growth resumed in the last five years reaching 5.7% in 2019 placing Kenya as one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The recent economic expansion has been boosted by a stable macroeconomic environment, positive investor confidence and a resilient services sector. Known as the “Silicon Savannah,” Kenya has seen its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector grow an average of 10.8% annually since 2016, becoming a significant source of economic development and job creation with spill over effects in almost every sector of the economy. Between 2005 and 2015, foreign direct investment in Kenya increased by an average of 50%
0.579
Medium Human Development
Human Development Index
UNDP, 2018
i
Kenya's HDI value for 2018 is 0.579— which put the country in the medium human development category— positioning it at 147 out of 189 countries and territories. The rank is shared with Nepal. Between 1990 and 2018, Kenya's HDI value increased from 0.467 to 0.579, an increase of 23.9 percent
41.5%
Living Below Poverty Line
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
3.9
People
Median Household Size
Census, 2019

Children's Living Arrangement

Children's Living Arrangements

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%
Country
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
54.6%
Living with Both Parents
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
i
Variations in living arrangement are seen according to age group, rural-urban, and regional background characteristics. Just over 99% of children aged 0-1 year live in family care. That percentage incrementally decreases as children age, with children aged 15-17 years residing in family care at a rate of 86%. Nearly 98% of children residing in households in the poorest wealth quintile live in family care, while only 88% of children residing in households in the richest quintile live in family care. There is little variation in the percentage of children living in urban areas who are orphaned compared to those living in rural areas. Rural areas house more children who have lost a single parent than urban areas (9% vs. 7%). Significant regional variations are found in children’s living arrangements in Kenya. This is partly driven by urban-rural differences, where more children live with both biological parents in urban areas compared to rural areas (59% vs. 53%). In Nairobi, the nation’s capital, 67% of children live with both parents while more rural regions such as Western Kenya only 49% of children do the same. Gender does not significantly vary between living arrangements in Kenya. Slightly more boys live with their biological fathers than girls, and a slightly higher percentage of girls live with neither biological parent than boys (14% vs. 13%). Wealth quintile is also not strongly associated with children’s living arrangements. However, households in the richest quintile more frequently house children who are living with both biological parent than households in the poorest wealth quintile (64% of the richest households compared to 55% of the poorest households nationwide).
21.7%
Living with Mother Only
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
i
Relative to other countries in the region, Kenya’s rates of children living with a single biological parent are high at 30% of all children 0-17.
3%
Living with Father Only
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
13.2%
Living with Neither Parent
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
i
In the East Africa regional context, Kenya has a relatively low rate of children living with neither biological parent at 12% for children ages 0-14 and 13% among children 0-17, ranking fourth lowest in the East African context. DHS disaggregates: living with neither parent and both parents alive (9.5%), only father alive (1%), only mother alive (1.5%), both dead (1.2%), no data (2%)
7.5%
Living in Kinship Care with One Parent Dead
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
i
7.5% of children have lost a mother or a father before reaching 15 years of age, increasing to 8.5% by age 18.
1.2%
Living in Kinship Care with Both Parents Dead
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
i
1.2% of all children ages 0-17 in Kenya are orphans (the loss of both biological parents).
%
Effective
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN

Children Living without Biological Parent

Children Living Without Biological Parents

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3.9%
Living in a Non-Relative Household
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
12.54%
Living in Kinship Care
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
17%
With One Parent Dead
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
i
In Kenya, 13% of children age 0-17 live with neither biological parent. Of these, 66% have two living biological parents, another 17% have one parent, and 8% do not have a surviving biological parent. This underlines the reality in Kenya that most children living out of parental care have at least one parent alive (92%).
8%
With Both Parents Dead
 
Demographic and Health Survey 2014
i
95% of children who do not live with biological parent/s live in households headed by a relative. In Kenya, 13% of children age 0-17 live with neither biological parent. Of these, 66% have two living biological parents and another 17% have one, and 8% do not have a surviving biological parent. This underlines the reality in Kenya that most children living out of parental care have at least one parent alive (92%).
- - %
Living in Foster Care
 
NO DATA AVAILABLE
i
DHS 2014 notes that 17% of households are "fostering" a child.

Children at Risk of Separation

Children at Risk of Separation

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41.5%
Children living below poverty line
 
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2016). Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2015/6.
i
Note data on children living in multidemensional poverty: 53%. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2020). Comprehensive Poverty Report: Children, Youth, Women, Men and the Elderly. From National to County Level.
Children with Disabilities
1.92 million
children
Estimate based on 2017 population and global data
i
* children 0-14 years 2014 DHS said 2.8% population estimated to have disability, not disaggregated by age and self-identified. Global disability data commonly assumes 10% of population, using a wider definition. Therefore this number should be taken with a caveat. The data source has interesting data and uses the global average of 10% to calculate percentage of children 0-14 with disability.
Children affected by HIV
110000
children
UNAIDS, 2018
i
Estimated number of children 0-14 years living with HIV. A further 660,000 children have lost one or both parents to HIV.
Street Connected Children
50000
children
UNICEF, 2017
i
The number of children living and/or working on the streets in Kenya is not known, but estimates are high, varying from 50,000 to 250,000. Urban areas with high numbers of children in street situations and homeless families include Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Lodwar and Nanyuk, and there has reportedly been a growth in recent years in children from informal settlements being drawn to the streets of Nairobi during the day. Children in street situations are the responsibility of the State Department on the Special Programme under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, and the Street Family Rehabilitation Trust Fund (the Fund)
56.1%
Children experiencing violence
 
2019 Violence Against Children Survey
i
45.9% (female) / 56.1% (male)
Children in conflict with the law
777
children
UNICEF, 2017
i
The 2016 research found that in late 2015 and early 2016 there were 427 male under-18s held in remand in prisons, more than the 350 being held in remand homes at the same time. Of these, 18 per cent were charged with “preparation to commit a felony” and 15 per cent with “defilement”. The researchers were informed that these boys were held in the prison because they were a danger to other children in remand homes, even though this contravened national legislation
Refugee Children
213000
children
UNHCR, 2019
i
Formally registered as refugees, of whom over 20,000 are unaccompanied and separated
30%
Online Safety
 
TdH, 2018 & ECPAT, 2020
i
A large number of children – 55% - have accessed adult pornography online, the largest percentage of a five-country survey conducted by ECPAT International (2013). Understanding African children’s use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) – a youth-led survey to prevent sexual exploitation online; an estimated 30% of children at risk of online sexual exploitation, including sharing of personal information, sharing of their nude pictures, accepting friendship requests from strangers
Children in Informal Kinship Care
NO DATA AVAILABLE
Kenya 2014 DHS Children's Care and Living Arrangements
i
13% of children age 0-17 live with neither biological parent and 95% of these live in households headed by a relative (most commonly grandparents)

Formal Alternative Care Arrangements

Formal Alternative Care Arrangements

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Settings
Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Settings
Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Formal Family-Based Care
0 Settings
0 Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Foster Care
0 Settings
0 Children
i
There is no data available on the number of children in formal foster care, though DHS data from 2014 indicate that 16.9% of households are fostering a child. Only 3.9% of surveyed households report hosting a child 0-17 unrelated to the head of the household. Foster care rules and regulations exist, and foster care is described and provided for in the Guidelines for the Alternative Family Care of Children in Kenya. Informal arrangements and some NGO-led pilot programs exist in the absence of state-led foster care services. There is also common misinterpretation of foster care regulations that children may only be placed in foster care via initial placement in Charitable Children's Institutions.
Kenya 2014 DHS Children's Care and Living Arrangements
Kinship Care
0 Settings
0 Children
i
Most common form of alternative family care with strong traditional roots and still considered a modern social norm; 13% of children age 0-17 live with neither biological parent and 95% of these live in households headed by a relative (most commonly grandparents)
Kenya 2014 DHS Children's Care and Living Arrangements
0 Settings
0 Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
All Residential Care
910 Settings
26198 Children
i
Rapid data collection process overseen by DCS, NCCS and Care Reform Core Team showed 45,480 children were in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) before COVID-19. Of that number, 19,282 were released from care as a result of the Government Directive and 26,198 remained in CCIs. Of the total number of CCIs, 581 were registered and 329 were unregistered. A 2020 study from The Lancet estimates that there are 85733.4 children in residential care in Kenya.
NCCS presentation of data in the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, UNICEF and BCN webinar, COVID-19 and the Alternative Care of Children
State-run reception and rescue centres
0 Settings
0 Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN
0 Settings
0 Children
NO SOURCE GIVEN

Adoption

NO DATA AVAIABLE
Country
NO SOURCE GIVEN
781
children
Domestic Adoption
Date Range: 2003-2008 (Roby & Rotabi 2016)
i
Although reliable adoption figures are unavailable, between 60% and 80% of all children (between 781 and 895 children) recorded as adopted between 2003 and 2008 were adopted domestically. Many Adoption Societies exist within Kenya, often linked to Charitable Children's Institutions (as by law, children must pass through Charitable Children's Institutions before being declared free for adoption). Adoption Societies are mandated to declare children free for adoption and to match with prospective adoptive parents. Adoptions are then approved via Court. The Children's Bill looks to formalise a national independent Adoption Committee Kinship adoption refers to adoption by relatives; this is provided for in the Guidelines for the Alternative Family Care of Children in Kenya as a form of domestic adoption. Additionally, commonly referred to as 'traditional adoption', Abaguusi adoption occurs among the Kiisi ethnic group, whereby a family who wish to have a child / more children negotiate a 'dowry' with a family who has a child who is double orphaned, or who the family is unable to care for. The practice is typically more common for boys, where families are looking to extend their bloodline, and pass on land. Children often come from within the Kiisi ethnic group, or from neighbouring ethnic groups (Luo, Luyha). Given this form of adoption is typically practiced informally, the exact prevalence is unknown. Main barriers to adoption include fear of exposing infertility, worry about corrupt practices, and reluctance to grant full inheritance rights to a child unrelated by blood.
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children
Inter-country Adoption
NO SOURCE GIVEN
i
An indefinite moratorium on intercountry adoption was issued by the Cabinet in 2014, amid reports of trafficking.
NO DATA AVAIABLE
Effective
NO SOURCE GIVEN

Key Reform Indicators/Progress Markers

Country
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Effective
 
NO SOURCE GIVEN
NO DATA AVAILABLE
Social Welfare Spending
NO SOURCE GIVEN
KSh 2.02 billion
Child Protection Spending
CP budget for Fiscal year 2017/18 Source (DCS, State department of Social Protection).
i
Information provided by Shar Kurtishi, Consultant supporting UNICEF with costing of the child protection system.
Alternative Care Policy in line with the 2009 Guidelines
 
Yes
Government of Kenya and UNICEF (2014). Guidelines for the Alternative Family-based Care of Children in Kenya.
Centralised authority on adoption
 
Yes
National Adoption Committee
Commitment to Deinstitutionalistion/Reforms
 
Yes
Care Reform Strategy (2020) [draft]
Comprehensive child protection law
 
Mostly
Children's Act (2001); Charitable Children's Institutions Regulations; Foster Care Regulations; Adoption Regulations
Continuum of alternative care services available
 
Partly
NO SOURCE GIVEN
i
Kinship care (mainly informal), foster care (some informal, some formal, mostly pilot programs led by NGOs), guardianship, kafaalah, domestic adoption, residential options (both government and non-government)
Data System
 
Partly
CPIMS - indicators related to children's care being developed
Existence of a regulatory body and regulatory system
 
Yes
NCCS
Gatekeeping mechanism/policy
 
Partly
Alternative Care Committee (sub-committee of Area Advisory Councils, authority delegated by NCCS); National Gatekeeping Guidelines (2020) [draft]
Means of tracking progress with reforms
 
Mostly
CPIMS; National Care Assessment (2020)
Moratorium on admission into institutions for children under 3
 
No
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Moratorium on new institutions
 
Yes
Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection. 1 November 2017. Suspension of Registration of New Charitable Children’s Institutions (CCIs). Letter from the Cabinet Secretary.
National Action Plan
 
Yes
Care Reform Strategy (2020) [draft]
National Standards of Care
 
Partly
National Standards for Best Practice in CCIs (2013); Through and Aftercare Procedures (2013)
Prevention of Separation Services available
 
Limited
NO SOURCE GIVEN
i
Range of NGO child protection services includes: Social Protection (i.e. Cash Transfers to Vulnerable households); National Government Affirmative Action Fund for Vulnerable groups; Bursary Awards; Free medical care for under 5; Universal health coverage underway; Family strengthening through IGA’s; Scholarship Awards; Table banking activities; Parenting skills training
Support for careleavers (in legislation and in practice)
 
Partly
NO SOURCE GIVEN
i
Outlined in Guidelines for the Alternative Family Care of Children in Kenya (2014), National Standards for Best Practice in CCIs (2013) and Through and Aftercare Procedures (2013). In practice, qualitative data collected from care leavers in Situational Analysis reflected that support is not systematically provided, and differs greatly from institution to institution.

Social Work Force

Workers
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Country
3.11
Workers
DCS (as part of the DCS, UNICEF and Maestral workforce strengthening effort)
No. of government social service workers with child protection responsibilities (per 100,000 children)
i
There are 681 Government Children's Officers for the total child population of 21,879,576.
Standardised 10-day child protection training roll-out
 
Yes
Workers
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Effective
A national workforce assessment and analysis carried out within the past four years
 
No Data
NO SOURCE GIVEN
A system of licensing/registration of social service professionals
 
No Data
NO SOURCE GIVEN

Key Stakeholders

Country
Government
Civil Society Organisations
Effective

Other Relevant Reforms

Other Relevant Reforms

Add New Data Data and Resources
Effective
NO SOURCE GIVEN
Child Protection
i
- DCS workforce strengthening - CPIMS helping to address challenges associated with lack of data - National policy framework is relatively strong (including policies related to disability) - Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011 and the Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board, a semi-autonomous government agency, established in 2013 (engages in awareness-raising work in areas with a high prevalence of FGM)
UNICEF, 2017
Decentralisation
i
In 2010, Kenya adopted a devolved system of governance. Forty-seven County Governors now oversee many areas of provision, including several social sectors. Through its funding formula and governance structures, the devolved system is intended to ensure equitable distribution of national and local resources and promote the participation of citizens in decision making on issues that affect them at local level. With devolution, county governments have become highly strategic entities, controlling more than 4.5%t of GDP and responsible for planning and delivering all devolved functions, including health, water, sanitation, urban services, early childhood development, and other local infrastructure. In some cases counties have struggled with insufficient resources to meet competing sector demands; weak systems; and challenges attracting and retaining competent or trained staff for planning, budgeting and participatory processes. Ongoing support is required to improve service delivery at county level.
UNICEF, 2017
Social Protection
i
OVC cash transfer, cash transfer for persons with disabilities, National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities, Council for Persons with Disabilities. Advocacy currently focused on facilitating access to OVC CT for reunified families and care leavers.
National Social Protection Secretariat
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UNICEF, 2017
i
Since devolution, public healthcare expenditure has risen substantially as a percentage both of GDP and of government expenditure. Local level spending has been constrained by delayed and lower-than-budgeted transfers from national to county level. Devolution of responsibilities to counties has meant that decisions can be made closer to the point of need, but significant challenges remain. Even before devolution, health systems were quite weak, particularly in northern areas. When counties took over provision of healthcare, they received insufficient guidance for their new role, including guidance on budget lines. Nevertheless, there have also been some successes in refocusing healthcare provision to the needs of local communities, and increasing the prioritization of preventive and promotive interventions rather than curative services. Counties are currently at different levels of institutionalization, planning, prioritization and implementation, and this largely depends on the capacity and commitment of health managers. Community health volunteers support maternal and newborn care, parent support groups, timed and targeted counselling, nutrition support, referral of children for immunization, and treatment of certain ailments by providing essential information and medical supplies, and acting as a referral mechanism. Kenya has managed to introduce new vaccines: the inactivated polio vaccine, rota, measles and rubella: 19 million children aged below 14 years were vaccinated against measles and rubella in 2016 and nine million children under five years were vaccinated against polio between 2013 and 2017. The number of healthcare facilities providing immunization increased from 5,300 to 6,900 between 2011 and 2016.
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NO SOURCE GIVEN
i
As part of Vision 2030, the President outlined the “Big Four” development priority areas for his final term as President. The Big Four will prioritize manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing and food security.

Key Research Sources

Country
Effective

Drivers of Institutionalisation

Drivers of Institutionaliziation

Add New Data Data and Resources
Country
Push Factors
Pull Factors
Effective

Displaying 1 - 10 of 233

List of Organisations

Jenelle R. Shanley, Lisa P. Armistead, Christine Musyimi, Darius Nyamai, Martha Ishiekwene, Victoria Mutiso, David Ndetei - Child Abuse & Neglect,

The purpose of this study was to assess systematically Kenya’s strengths and limitations to implement a parent support program using a mixed-methods study design.

Better Care Network,

In this video, Grace Mwangi takes a critical look at the social work approach to the prevention of child abandonment, and the impact different approaches can have on outcomes for women and their children.

Better Care Network,

In this video, Ruth Wacuka and Samora Korea, two key leaders of the Kenya Society of Care Leavers, discuss the importance of care leaver networks, to enable care leavers to have a collective voice and to build a peer-to-peer supportive platform that aids in the transition of young people into independent living.

Better Care Network,

In this video, Peter Kamau from Child in Family Focus discusses his organisation’s approach to engaging with the directors of privately-run charitable children’s institutions (CCI’s) to secure their buy-in for transition and the reintegration of children into families, in line with government policy.

Better Care Network,

Comprised of videos and accompanying discussion guides, this video series features the learning from practitioners working across a range of care-related programs and practices in Kenya.

Better Care Network,

In this video, Grace Mwangi shares key lessons from her experience working in community-based social work with children and families at risk of separation in Kenya.

L. Embleton, P. Shah, A. Gayapersad, R. Kiptui, D. Ayuku & P. Braitstein - International Journal for Equity in Health,

This study sought to identify and understand how street-connected children and youth (SCY)’s social and health inequities in Kenya are produced, maintained, and shaped by structural and social determinants of health using the WHO conceptual framework on social determinants of health (SDH) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) General Comment no. 17.

Sandra Langat, Festus Njuguna, Gertjan Kaspers, and Saskia Mostert - BMJ Case Reports,

This case report depicts the quest for health insurance coverage of two HIV orphans with Burkitt lymphoma in Kenya.

Margaret Wanjiku - The Sun Weekly,

During the induction of Adoption Committee Members at Machakos University on Monday, August 17, 2020, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Labour and Social Protection, Simon Chelugui, made remarks underscoring "the importance of the basic family unit in the nurturing, care and raising of children in society," according to this article from the Sun Weekly.

Better Care Network and ACC International Relief,

This launch webinar provided an introduction to the Transitioning Models of Care Assessment Tool, an assessment framework that assists practitioners to identify and analyze key starting point dynamics and determine the implications for strategy in supporting organisations to transition from an institutional to non-institutional model of care.