Kenya: New Bill Sets Tough Rules for Children's Homes in Nakuru

Children's home owners who employ convicted sexual offenders in their facilities risk being fined Sh1 million or a three-year jail term or both should the Nakuru County Child Care Facilities Bill, 2019 be enacted into law.

The workers in the facilities found to have colluded in such employment will also face stiff penalties if it is proved they did not take due diligence to establish the background of their workers before they are employed.

According to the Bill, any caregiver who sexually molests the children under their care risk a jail term of 10 years.

REGULATIONS

With the proposed law, many mushrooming childcare providers who have been operating without following the regulations will now find it hard to operate.

The Bill has proposed stringent measures for rogue home owners using the desperate children to enrich themselves by soliciting local and international donor funding. At the same time, no child care facility will be allowed to operate if it has no adequate health and safety measures.

Most of the children's homes have pre-primary unit classes that are manned by unqualified staff.

However, the new Bill now wants home owners to employ trained pre-primary teachers before they are licensed to operate.

The home owners must meet the standard of the child - staff ratio and the number of children allowed in a class.

However, the Bill is silent on the ratio specification of child-staff.

SAFETY MEASURES

To ensure the safety of the children is taken care of, the Bill wants home owners to construct buildings that have emergency exits and other safety measures.

On sanitation, the Bill proposes that ablution blocks should be child friendly while classrooms should be constructed according to the recommended standards. They should have proper ventilation.

Other requirements include adequate furniture suitable for children and appropriate play equipment.

The Bill sponsored by Mariashoni MCA Douglas Ayabei, which has gone through the first reading, will now be subjected to a mandatory public participation as required by the Constitution.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

After the public participation, the Bill will go through the second and third readings before it is forwarded to Governor Lee Kinyanjui for signing into law.

"The Bill is to provide for the management, registration, licensing and inspection of child care facilities in the county," said Mr Ayabei.

He said many children's homes were operating with no rules and structures required to give the children a safe environment.

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