Trans Nzoia County bemoans high rate of child neglect cases
Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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Street children who are becoming a common thing in major towns of Western Kenya and the North Rift. [Photo | File]
Trans Nzoia County has registered high rates of cases of child abandonment in the recent past forcing the children’s department to call for concerted efforts from stakeholders in the region to curb the menace.
According to the Trans Nzoia County Coordinator of Children Services Esther Wasige (left) , the upsurge of the cases started being experienced in the month of May and over 21 cases have been received in the last two months.
Speaking to West FM in her office in Kitale, the coordinator said that most of the abandoned babies range from the ages of one day and one year that are either dropped by the roadside or near a gate to somebody's home.
"These cases are always experienced during the seasons of hunger and planting whereby most of the parents are said to fail to provide for the upkeep hence the single parents decide to dump the babies in maize plantations, by the roadside or at a gate entering to somebody's home where they believe a good Samaritan or well wisher will eventually pick them," Wasige said.
She said that a few of the persons arrested over the practice especially women claim that their partners or the fathers of the children abandoned fail to take responsibility of the upkeep of the babies and thus prompting them to take the move to abandon them.
The coordinator said that despite the cases being witnessed from all the three districts of the county including Trans Nzoia West and East with Kwanza, many of them are reported in Trans Nzoia West especially within Kitale Town in notable slum areas of Matisi and Tuwani.
However, she said that a few of the suspects have been arrested and arraigned in court while the recovered babies are taken to identified children homes known for baby rescue to be cared for.
She said that the department in partnership with other governmental departments and non governmental institutions such as the Catholic diocese, the police, and the courts among others to sensitize the members of public over taking responsibility to bring up their children at all levels.
Wasige further appealed to the residents to also play a major role in curbing the vice by reporting people whom they suspect might have abandoned their babies in their midst so that proper action can be taken against the suspects.
"If you see a neighbor or girl who was either pregnant or had a small baby but all over a sudden the baby vanishes yet it did not die and be buried then you should be curious to know the whereabouts of the infant because she might have abandoned it in a maize plantation or somewhere by the roadside. You should therefore quickly report to our department or police or a nearby administration unit or administrator for action," she urged.
She pointed out that by the residents keeping vigil and reporting such cases more regularly, definitely they will have to reduce because others will fear indulging in the same act on seeing the others charged or prosecuted.
A person who is found guilty of abandoning a baby can be jailed a maximum of up to three years in prison.
The county is also said to be registering defilement cases especially of babies as young as three years and cases of teenagers defiling each other and leading to a girl getting pregnant.
At the same time cases of child neglect have gone down after the department of children and other stakeholders took an initiative of sensitizing the residents on the essence of looking after their children and the consequences of neglecting them hence most of the parents have now fully embraced responsibility of their duties.