About the Children Bill 2021:
The Children Bill (2021) seeks to repeal the Children Act (2001) to provide for penalties for denying a child the right to life, survival, wellbeing and development in Kenya. It will protect children from violence and ensure that all their rights are protected.
Why we need the Children Bill:
Violence against children in Kenya is at an all-time high. This points to the weak enforcement of existing laws and policies. The Children Bill (2021) seeks to address this challenge by strengthening the legal framework so as to protect children from abuse and ensure that they are able to enjoy life in all its fullness.
The bill is progressive and is well aligned to the 2010 Kenya constitution, as well as other new laws that affect children, including the following:
- Basic Education Act 2013;
- Legal Aid Act 2016;
- Victims Protection Act 2014;
- Counter Trafficking in Persons Act 2010;
- Sexual Offences Act 2006;
- Protection Against Domestic Violence Act 2015
Reasons to support the Children Bill:
The bill provides a road map for the well-being of all children in Kenya. It seeks to achieve the following:
- Align Kenya’s Children law to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children.
- Address emerging challenges preventing children from enjoying all their rights such increased cases of abuse and violence against children. These include trafficking, radicalisation, sexual violence within households, early marriage and online exploitation which has been on the rise with the widespread use of social media platforms.
- Provides for clear provisions and rehabilitation for children in conflict with the law.
- Promote adequate allocation of resources to child welfare programmes.
- Effectively co-ordinate all stakeholders/bodies/organisations in the child protection sector so as to enable children to better access the services that they offer.
- Safeguard children’s right to parental care and inclusion of alternative care services (such as kinship, guardianship, adoption and foster care) for children who may not thrive within the biological family.
- Align foster care and adoption systems in Kenya to seal current loopholes and curb trafficking.
- Lay emphasis on the right to free and compulsory basic education and health for all children.
- Make provisions for the roles of the county governments in discharging their mandate towards administration of children’s services. These include developing policies on children’s matters, establishing child care facilities, as well as facilitating access to pre-primary education, play and recreational centres for children.
- Ensure better planning, budgeting, implementation and adequate resource allocation towards child welfare programmes.
- Enhance child rights governance by providing children with opportunities to have their voices heard/participate in the development of policies affecting them.
- Provide for children in emergencies. The current situation allows for separation of children from adults during emergency situations in the name of “specialised services”. Such separation, many times has ended up being long-term or permanent. The Children’s Bill harmonises rights and roles to prevent separation and violation of children under emergency care.
- Download the full copy of the bill for HERE