The Children’s Services Department in Kenya currently runs 10 children rehabilitation schools, 12 children’s remand homes and three children’s rescue centers.
The remand homes handled 1,490, 3,224 and 3,340 in 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively. On the other hand the children rehabilitation schools handled 2,362, 1,164 and 2,490 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively.
Some 5,113 children were involved in crime in 2005, with only 3,500 of these cases being handled by government institutions due to capacity constraints.
These institutions have various rehabilitation programmes carried over from the colonialists, with some being of no value in an ever-changing society. In this regard, the Department has started a new reform programme to address this, such as baking and soap-making.
The children’s rescue centres handled 1,200 children in 2008, including those internally displaced in need of specialised care and support e. g. food, medical, clothing, milk, and psychosocial support by qualified staff.
The challenges and achievements include inadequate funding, internally displaced children, shortage of personnel especially at institutions, inadequate resources, increase of cases of child abuse, negligence, abandonment, poverty at family level hampering child growth, development and protection, unregulated charitable children’s institutions, child sex tourism and exposure of children to pornography.
The earliest correctional and rehabilitation institution, Kabete Rehabilitation School was built between 1910 and 1912, in the lower Kabete area. The school was founded to cater for youth who had been imprisoned for failing to register themselves or their inability to carry their identity cards. Now, the rehabilitation schools in Kenya include Nairobi Children’s Home, Getathuru Rehabilitation School, Dagoretti Rehabilitation School and Kirigiti Rehabilitation School. Others are Wamumu, Othaya, Likoni, Kericho and Kakamega rehabilitation centres.