COMMEMORATING INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR MISSING CHILDREN

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The International missing Children’s day is a global day of both reflection and action. It is a day to reaffirm our commitment to protecting our children, to ensure that every child is safe, secure and surrounded by love.

At the heat of our endeavor lies education and awareness creation. The theme of this year, empowering communities to safeguard children from going missing, is aimed at equipping our communities with knowledge and tools necessary to prevent children from going missing.

Education starts with empowering children themselves – teaching them about personal safety, their rights, and how to seek help when needed. It extends to parents, guardians and educators, and all members of our society, fostering a culture of vigilance and proactive intervention.

In protecting children, vigilance should be our first line of defense. We must train our eyes to recognize the signs of vulnerability, the warning signals, and to act swiftly and decisively.  Support services, counselling, and advocacy are essential pillars in our collective responsibility to help families and communities affected by the trauma of a missing child.

In the quest of Safeguarding children from going missing, collaborations and partnerships are paramount. There is need for strengthened efforts across sector government agencies, law enforcers, civil society organizations, community groups to families, in sharing of information, resources capacities and best practices. The imperative in strengthening the prevention and response mechanism for missing children.

In Kenya and across the world children continue to go missing leaving behind anguished families and communities. Behind each statistic lies a story of heartbreak and loss – a child torn from the embrace of loved ones, their future uncertain and their dreams shattered.

The Child Protection Information System (CPMIS) within the Directorate of Children Services, recorded a total of 7,058 children that went missing from the beginning of this financial year to date. Out of this a total of 1,383 were found and reunited with their families. This leaves a sizeable number of yet to be found children.

The Ministry of  Labor and Social Protection has put measures for the protection of children including online child protection, Child helpline 116, provision of cash transfers to meet the basic needs of families, a lack of which may be a push factor for children to flee their homes and; prevention of violence against children through the ‘’Spot it Stop it Campaign.’’

To strengthen the response and management systems for missing children, the ministry of Ministry of  Labor and Social Protection has developed guidelines for management of missing and found children in Kenya. The guidelines underscore the importance of a coordinated and integrated response to incidents, involving missing or found children. It highlights the safety measures, case management and data protection for missing and found children.

Central to these guidelines, is the recognition that protecting our children is not just a moral imperative, but a collective responsibility. It highlights the roles and responsibilities of respective duty bearers in keeping our children safe – beginning from parent, caregivers, educators, members of the community to institutions.

Everyone should get a copy of the guidelines with the facilitation of the Directorate for Children Services, to get more information on the content and utility of the guideline. The ministry of Ministry of  Labor and Social Protection continues to scale up measures for the prevention of missing children.

 

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