Abandoned babies to get dignified names
Children found abandoned or born under certain circumstances will no longer be named after the conditions but given dignified names.
According to proposals contained in the Children Bill 2016, when a marriage breaks up, or a child is born out of wedlock parental responsibility shall rest on both the father and the mother.
The bill further enhances protection of children against emerging issues like radicalization, sexual abuse and child labor.
An Assistant Director in charge of the National Council of Children Services Mrs. Josephine Oguyo said the government is reviewing the Children Act 2001 to align it with the new constitution and address this and other emerging issues.
Speaking during a public participation exercise in Kisumu today, Oguyo said the Kenyan Constitution 2010 advocates for the rights of children adding that the 2001 children act does not explicitly address the rights.
The review, she disclosed was started in 2006 but the proposals presented to the Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) in June 2014 surpassed the threshold for review of existing laws forcing the children’s department to go back to the drawing board.
Stakeholder meetings held in Nairobi, Mombasa and Machakos, she said revealed that the existing act had flaws and did not carter for emerging issues.
“This law was enacted in 2001 and so many issues have emerged which the act as it is does not address,” she said.
Cultural activities like Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages have also been captured in the bill to protect children.
Magdalene Akinyi, a representative of the children accused the government for failing to adequately offer their protection.
Akinyi said children especially in rural areas and informal settlements continue to suffer in silence since the government has not deployed children officers to the sub county level to address their plight.
She proposed that in the event of a broken marriage fathers must also be considered when giving custody because some mothers are not fit to raise children especially after the disintegration.
Kisumu County Director of Children Services Humphrey Wandeo said due to the changing trends in the society some households were headed by children urging stakeholders to come up with ways of incorporating such issues in the new bill.
The new bill he added shall also address issues of child adoption and guardianship to ensure that children don’t fall into wrong hands.
“For the first time in the history of Kenya, we are involving children to make laws that govern their operations and protection. This forms part of child participation which is entrenched in the constitution,” he said.
Similar meetings shall be conducted across the country ahead of the national meeting to be held in Nairobi before June this year to fine tune the bill before it is taken to parliament for debate.