Action for Children in Conflict has a program, the Kenya Children’s Legal Aid Work (KCLAW), that seeks to promote access to justice, strengthen the rule of law, promote human rights and significantly reduce all forms of violence in the society.
Information about Child Protection to get you started
The law says that a child or young person at risk of harm or neglect, as a result of a single incident or a number of ongoing incidents, must be protected. Child abuse includes exposing a child to the risk of significant physical, sexual or emotional harm such as:
- hurting or threatening to hurt a young person physically, sexually or emotionally,
- being caught in the middle of family violence,
- having care of a child while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs,
- having care of a child whilst living with an untreated mental health issue,
- neglecting a child, for example: not giving a child enough food, clothing, shelter or necessary medical care, or
- failing to provide proper supervision.
If you believe a child (even an unborn child) is at risk of being abused or neglected, or there is a real risk of this, you can call 116, a toll free child helpline by The National Council for Children’s Services (NCCS)
The child help line was established to offer the following services:
- Provide 24 hour toll free emergency public line for reporting all cases for children in need of care and protection.
- Keep a National database on calls made on issues raised by children.
- Provide counseling and referral services for all children in danger and distress
- Acts as a referral source for therapeutic of abused children.
- Works together with stakeholders in children sector to advocate for children’s rights and protection.
- Provide a plat form for networking amongst stakeholders/ and provide linkages to support systems that facilitate the rehabilitation of abused children.
Reporting child abuse or neglect is confidential.
If someone believes that a child at risk of being hurt or neglected they can tell the The National Council for Children’s Services (NCCS), a government agency. Someone might think a chid is at risk if:
- someone is hurting or mistreating a child
- the child is being neglected
- the child has left home
- the child is behaving in a risky way or are hurting themself.
Anyone who is worried that a child is not safe or being cared for at home can make a report to the Department of Health and Human Services. Some people, like doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers, school principals and police officers, must tell the department if they believe a child or young person is being harmed or that there is a serious risk of this. if a chid is being abused or mistreated you could tell one of the people mentioned above. Children’s Services must investigate every report. This can include speaking to the child, their family members and other people involved with the family. Each family’s situation is different, therefore department may decide not to take action or may get involved with a family for a short or long time.
If you are a parent or carer you don’t have to be represented by a lawyer. However, preparing and presenting your own case can be complicated, especially if the court is being asked to remove your child from your care. You can get help. Parents and children (who are mature enough) have separate lawyers. A lawyer can give you advice about your choices, and speak for you. What you tell your lawyer is confidential. At AfCiC through our KCLAW program we provide legal help, feel free to contact us if you need legal representation.
Before the hearing date, contact the court to see what time you need to be there. It’s best to get there about half an hour before the court sessions start. Usually the first court hearing starts at 8am. If you need an interpreter contact the Children’s Court you are attending to let them know before your court date. The court will pay for the interpreter. Only qualified interpreters can work at court.
At court, the registrar sorts out the order of the hearings on the day. Your case may not be heard straight away, therefore plan to be there for the whole day and do not go too far away for you will need to be able to hear your name/case number being called when the court is ready for you.
Going into the courtroom when your name is called. The court will wait until everyone has entered, and will then ask what stage your case is up to. The National council for children services’ or whoever has brought the case to court lawyer will briefly explain what the department is asking for and tell the court if the case can go ahead. The court may give everyone time to talk, or may set aside time to listen to each side before making a decision. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will speak for you. Sometimes you may go into and out of court several times on one day. You may have to come back on another day, as courts often do not make a final decision on the first day you go to court.
Court’s decision: The court can make different court orders, depending on the case and what stage it is at.
- If the case is not decided or If the case has only just started, or there is no agreement about what should happen, the court may:
- Make a temporary order requiring you and your family to cooperate with the investigation, called a temporary assessment order.
- Put the case off for another hearing date and make a temporary order about the care of the child called an interim care order.
- Make a child assessment order, requiring a child to be investigated or evaluated by a person appointed by the court to assist the court in determining any matter concerning the welfare and upbringing of the child.
- Make a wardship order, requiring that a child be placed under the protection and custody of the court.
- Make a Production order, requiring any person who is harbouring, concealing or otherwise unlawfully detaining a child, or who intends to remove a child from Kenya or from the local limits of the jurisdiction of the court, to disclose any information regarding the whereabouts of the child and/or to produce the child before the court and/or restraining the person from removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court for such period as the court may specify.
- If the court decides that there is enough information to make a final decision, they may:
- Dismiss the case
- Make final orders about the protection of children, including:
- an undertaking (a legally binding promise made to the court to something or not to do something);
- access order, which shall require the person with whom the child is residing to allow the child to visit, or to stay periodically with the person named in the order, or to allow such person to have such other contact with the child as may be directed by the court;
- residence order, which shall require a child to reside with a person named in the order and/or determine the arrangements to be made to facilitate the residence of the child with the person named in the order;
- exclusion order requiring a person who has used violence or threatened to use violence against a child, whether or not that person permanently resides with the child, to depart from the home in which the child is residing or to restrain the person from entering the home or a specified part of the home or from a specified area in which the home is included, or to restrain any other person from taking the child to the person against whom the child needs protection for such period as the court may specify;
- family assistance order requiring a person appointed by the court to provide such advice, counselling and guidance to a child, his parents or custodian or guardians, the child’s relatives, or any person who has care and control of the child or with whom the child is residing, as the court may specify;
For more information about the see the followingChildren’s Act of 2018
Interim care order: a temporary order made by the Court which means that the state will share parental responsibility for your child with you.
Child assessment order: It requires any person who is able to produce the child to allow the local authority to remove the child from the family home for the purposes of an assessment.
Wardship order: an order made by a court that a child or young person should be under the protection of the court because the parents are unable or unfit to look after that child
Production order: requires the custodian of the child to deliver or make the child available to the court
Access order: a court order allowing a parent to see a child if the child is the care of someone else, often the other parent following a divorce
Residence order: an official declaration by a court or an authority saying where a child must live
Exclusion order: an order which removes the person presenting the danger from the child’s home. This may be appropriate in cases such as domestic abuse where the perpetrator does not voluntarily leave the home.
Family assistance order: a court order issued directing the children officer officer, or an officer of a local authority to advise, assist, and befriend a particular child or a person closely connected with the child.
DISCLAIMER this is meant to be for information resource only. None of the material on this site is expressly or impliedly meant to provide legal advice to you. Since the material on this site is provided as information only, and laws continuously change from time to time, the author of this website neither expressly nor impliedly warrants that any of the material provided on this website is accurate. If you are in need of a solution to a legal problem, the author advises that you should contact a advocate for legal advice.feel free to contact us for more help.
Tel: +254 714 038 285/+254 722 753 137 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Kenyadirector@actionchildren.or.ke
Action for Children in Conflict,Section 9, off Mgoko Road,P.O.Box, 6439-01000,Thika, Kenya.