We have accumulated considerable experience spanning six decades and the necessary expertise acquired through the implementation of the following programmes to undertake different child-related projects:
Alternative family care
This mainly deals with the facilitation and provision of alternative families for children in need of special care and protection. Adoption, Foster care and guardianship are the core components in the Alternative Family Care Services as explained below:
Adoption is a way of providing a child with new permanent legal parents who provide caring and loving homes for orphaned, offered and abandoned children. It ends the legal relationship between the child and his/her natural mother. CWSK has done adoptions on behalf of the Kenyan Government since 1969, placing over 8,000 children into legal adoption utilizing a well-qualified professional team of Social Workers to conduct social inquiries and ensure that adoptions are conducted with utmost adherence to the provisions of the law.
Through this approach, children and young persons are provided with temporary placement (within their own communities), which is preferable for those who for whatever reason cannot remain in the natural family and urgently require alternative family care, while other measures are being taken to address their situation. CWSK has facilitated foster care for over 20,000 children. Placements and follow ups are done in collaboration with the Department of Children Services.
CWSK also assists in the appointment of guardians for children. A Guardian is a person appointed by will or deed by a child’s parent or order of the court to assume parental responsibility. CWSK has placed over 10,000 children with guardians.
Rapid response and rescue of children in distress
Since inception, CWSK is recognized for effective rapid response for children in need of urgent rescue, shelter, health and other services. CWSK runs a rapid response and rescue of children programme in its branches to rescue children immediately cases of abuse or exposure to detrimental risk are reported. This is done by placing them in the organization’s ten temporary places of safety in counties country-wide.
Emergency preparedness and Response
This programme involves:
(i) Addressing child protection concerns and ensuring protection of children during emergencies by responding to any that may occur in any part of the country; and
(ii) Establishment /strengthening of local community structures and building the capacity of duty bearers, children/young persons and other stakeholders in enhancing child protection in emergencies.
Pregnancy Crisis Support
We provide counseling to adolescent mothers and other desperate mothers in pregnancy crisis. Where, after comprehensive counseling, mothers for some reason cannot keep their child, they are apprised of the alternative of giving up the child for adoption. This service is especially beneficial to adolescents, students and domestic workers who form most of our clientele and who are at risk of falling prey to abortion. The main focus is to offer psychosocial support to the mothers/parents so as retain children in their original families.
Through this programme, we counter all forms of child trafficking to reduce its prevalence and its effects on children and young persons both locally and internationally. CWSK supports child victims of trafficking by providing them with temporary shelter, psychosocial support, family tracing, mediation and reunification/reintegration services within and outside the country. CWSK builds the capacity of duty bearers, rights holders and other stakeholders on protection of children from trafficking and on laws protecting children from trafficking.
Local, regional and international family tracing and reunification
This programme involves tracing for children unaware of their parents’ whereabouts and also for parents who are not aware of the whereabouts of their children. It also provides places of safety for the children while the search of their families is underway, effectively utilizing the 52 branch network countrywide. Internationally, CWSK is a member and the East African Representative of the International Social Service (ISS) and has been involved in provision of the same service through this body and its affiliate branches located in over 150 different countries worldwide.
This programme aims at reducing the HIV/AIDS prevalence and enhancing support mechanisms for affected and infected orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC). This is done through increasing the level of awareness on HIV/AIDS, advocating for behavior change among adolescents and children orphaned or rendered vulnerable by the epidemic, enhancing the quality of care, psychosocial support and providing counseling and referral services for HIV/AIDS affected children in order to improve their care and quality of life.
The programme aims at strengthening the community capacities, duty bearers, youth and children in order to provide an enabling environment for OVCs care and protection. CWSK targets, children, young persons, local community members, and duty bearers who handle and come across OVC in their day to day work. The duty bearers who include chiefs, teachers, local authority staff, judges and magistrates, police officers, hospital staff, and the opinion leaders at the locational level are trained on how to practically ensure protection of OVC.
Education and Skills Development
Through this programme, we focus on increasing the access for children and youth to quality education and self-reliance skills training through; enhancing and strengthening early childhood development (ECD) programmes; primary, secondary, special education and university sponsorship and other education opportunities using community approaches. This also involves strengthening the capacity of vocational training centers and polytechnics to provide appropriate skills to children and young persons.
Education programme has seen many children attain college and university education. CWSK also provides quality education to all children in the 10 CWSK places of safety and to children in need of special education protection (CNSP) living with their families, and enhancing self-reliance skills training programmes.
Child labour & Commercial Sexual Exploitation of children (CSEC)
This programme aims at creating enabling environments for zones free of CSEC and child labour countrywide. CWSK lobbies and advocates for policies and laws that promote a society free of CSEC and labour. In addition CWSK is involved in the prevention and withdrawal of CNSP from situations of CSEC, labour, neglect, abuse and exploitation. Over 30,000 children have been withdrawn from economic exploitation and offered alternatives. CWSK partners with both private and development partners such as ILO, which has supported projects reaching over 15,000 children directly and 60,280 indirectly, and removed children involved in labour, providing them with alternatives. In partnership with KUONI Private Safaris, CWSK has directly reached over 500 children involved in or at risk of commercial sexual exploitation in the tourism industry (one of the worst forms of child labour), and 12,480 indirectly.
This programme aims at addressing the psychosocial needs of children living in the streets. CWSK identifies, registers, rescues, and rehabilitates children, as well as provide them with family tracing and mediation services for the children’s reintegration /reunifies with their families. The programme targets all children in the streets regardless of the circumstances that have pushed them to the streets. CWSK has established a pilot child friendly support centre in one of its branches in Turkana County which addresses holistic psychosocial needs of children living in the streets of Turkana. CWSK has so far reached over 8,000 living in the streets countrywide.
Family counseling, mediation, Empowerment, rehabilitation
This strengthens family relationships to effectively care for and protect children by providing counseling, psychosocial support, and facilitation of family reunification with support for income generating activities. The programme is premised on the recognition that the best place a child can ever be is in its original family. CWSK also undertakes mediation activities among parents who might be in conflict for whatever reason, separated, or estranged and, as such, causing the children suffering due to inadequate maintenance and attention. CWSK provides counselling to such parents with the aim of having the child’s needs adequately addressed by both parties. Each year CWSK handles an average of 1,000 cases.
Research, Advocacy and Communication
The overall goal of this programme is to improve the social, legal and policy environment as well as practice on issues of children especially those in need of special care and protection. This involves; conducting research on relevant areas to get facts in order to inform and influence the policy and legal framework for CNSP; identifying and sharing experiences and best practices for effective programme development and implementation on CNSP; and increasing levels of awareness on children rights amongst both children and the community. Recently, CWSK carried out a research on the situation of adoption in the country whose findings were disseminated to stakeholders and policy makers.
Child Rights and Child Participation
Whereas CWSK has mainstreamed child rights and child participation in all its programmes, this particular one aims at providing children with the opportunity to identify their needs and solutions. This is in recognition of the fact that children can identify their own needs and develop their own solutions. Through child participation the children are sensitized on their rights and the significance of being involved in issues affecting them. To promote child participation CWSK has facilitated the formation of over 500 rights of the child (ROC) clubs, reaching to thousands of children in all counties. The ROCs are aimed at building confidence, self-esteem and ensuring participation of the children in their issues. Among the activities carried out in the ROCs include creative art, songs, dances and debates among others.
Adolescent Reproductive Health Services (ARH)
This Programme reaches out to the youth through ARH and HIV/AIDS education for the youth, children, staff, volunteers, and the community at large. It involves the youth reaching out to other youth through outreach, mobile theaters and peer education and child participation activities such as songs, role-plays and puppetry in both Kiswahili and vernacular, to maximize the chances of understanding.
Health Care Centers
We offer medical health care services to children and vulnerable groups at the local community. In Nakuru, Isiolo, Bungoma, Nyahururu and Laikipia branches, the organization has dispensaries and youth friendly clinics that, not only assist vulnerable children, but also offer health care facilities to the local communities.