The origin of the Department of Children's Services now in the Ministry of Gender,Children and Social Development can be traced back to the Colonial era, when it existed as a Juvenile Correctional Institution. Its earliest correctional and rehabilitation institution, the then Kabete Approved School (now 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 the identity card (Kipande).With the reorganization and prior to the attainment of independence, the Approved Schools were up-graded into a fully-fledged Department under the repealed Children and Young Persons Act Cap 141. Initially, the Department was known as the Department of Approved Schools but after independence it became Children's Department, hereby referred to as the Department of Children's Services.
It is worth noting that the struggle for independence in the country has greatly influenced the development of the Department.As the struggle between the colonial administrators and the Mau Mau intensified, many small children and infants were orphaned, homeless and without support.This in part explains the reason why the majority of the statutory children's institutions run by the Department are in Central Kenya.
Currently, the Department draws it's mandate from the Children Act,2001. This is an Act of Parliament that makes provision for parental responsibility, fostering, adoption, custody, maintenance, guardianship, care and protection of children; it also makes provision for the administration of children's institutions; gives effect to the principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and other related purposes. It provides for the leadership in co-ordination, supervision and provision of services towards promoting the rights and welfare of all children in Kenya.
With the enactment of the Act, the following were repealed:
Cap 141:The Children and Young Persons Act
Cap 143:The Adoption Act
Cap 144: The Guardianship of Infants Act
The Act which defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen years goes further to define a child of tender years as one under the age of ten years. In all actions concerning children whether undertaken by public or private welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies,the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration. The Act spells out the rights of a child which include an inherent right to life and parental care.
Box 16936-00100 Nairobi
NSSF Building, Block A, Eastern Wing 6th Floor.
P.O Box 30007-00100 Nairobi. 00100 Kenya
Phone: Tel (+254-020)-2727980
Fax: Fax (+254-020)-2734417.