The team participated in the official launch of the National Care Reform Strategy for Children in Kenya 2022-2032, the result of a long multi-stakeholder work path that has seen Tree of Life at the forefront in the last three years.
The Care Reform Strategy marks a crucial and substantial transformation in the child protection system in Kenya.
In a country characterized by one of the youngest populations in the world (46% children), residential care has represented for decades the apparent solution to childhood problems: just think that before Covid, over 45,000 children lived in shelters, in addition to hundreds of minors in government juvenile justice institutions.
Yet, there are families: biological parents, extended families and relatives, too often in situations of extreme vulnerability that generate the alienation of children.
And this is precisely the basis of Care Reform: the importance of placing the family at the center of the child protection system, instead of the institution, in the awareness, demonstrated by 80 years of research, of the profound damage that institutionalization causes to development of children.
With this common goal, the Government of Kenya, under the leadership of the National Council for Children’s Services (NCCS) and the Directorate of Children’s Services (DCS), State Department for Social Protection, has activated a consultative and participatory process for the development of a reform anchored on 3 major pillars:
- Prevention of family separation and strengthening of the family fabric (“Prevention of separation and family strengthening”).
- Alternative Care, which includes Family Custody.
- Search for families, reintegration and transition to a family care system (“Tracing, reintegration and transitioning to family and community-based care”).
Tree of Life accompanied the entire development process of the National Care Reform Strategy by providing constant technical support and co-development of the strategy.
Tree of Life was the leader in the creation of the training manual for foster care operators (“Facilitators Training Manual for providing Foster Care Services in Kenya”) and the training manual for foster families (“National Foster Parents’ Facilitator’s Manual – Kenya “).
We also took care of guiding the development of the Standard Operating Procedures for Foster Care, merged into the global document of the “Standard Operating Procedures for the Alternative Family – Based and Community – Based Care of Children in Kenya (SoPs)”
During the same event, another fundamental document was also launched in this new telematic era, namely the “National Plan of Action to tackle online Child Sexual Exploitation and abuse”.
Now, the long implementation phase of the Care Reform awaits us in the coming years!
The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread – Mother Teresa.
Tree of Life will continue to be there in Kenya to support more and more children and families in a continuous path of love, growth and development.