Govt Directs Immediate Reporting of Missing Children

May 27, 2024

The government has instituted new guidelines on reporting and tracing missing children, mandating the immediate reporting of a missing child.

Previously, procedures required a 48-hour wait before reporting to the police. The new Guidelines on the Management of Missing and Found Children dictate that a missing child should be reported immediately.

Once a missing child is reported, an alert will be generated and shared through agreed channels, including social media platforms.

The guidelines were launched on Saturday, May 25 during the International Missing Children’s Day celebrations at Shalom House in Dagoretti South, Nairobi.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore announced that 7,058 children have gone missing this financial year. Of these, 1,383 were found and reunited with their families.

In a speech read on her behalf by the Secretary Administration of the State Department for Social Protection, the CS stated that the ministry has implemented several measures to protect children, including online child protection, the Child Helpline 116, and provision of cash transfers to meet the basic needs of families. These measures aim to reduce the factors that push children to flee their homes.

The new guidelines are also expected to help prevent confusion and miscommunication throughout the search and recovery process. Children can go missing due to abduction, abandonment, running away, getting lost, trafficking, neglect, insufficient care and supervision, poverty, custody disputes, fleeing danger, or being groomed for abuse or exploitation.

The Department of Children Services identified that current mechanisms for responding to cases of missing and found children lack standardization, causing disjointed efforts in tracing and ensuring their safety.

“In the current digital age, dissemination of information regarding missing children has become widespread, yet it is often unregulated,” she noted.

Agnes Mwendwa, Nairobi Children’s Assembly Governor, blamed parents for beating and denying children basic needs, forcing them to run away from home.

Athena Morgan, Africa Regional Project Manager for the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), urged children to use the toll-free number 116 if they need support.

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