THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILD PARENTS BILL 2023

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An Act of Parliament to provide a framework for the care and protection of child parents within the Counties, to provide a framework through which an expectant girl child or a child parent may actualise their right to basic education and at the same time ensure the care of their children.

PROPOSED PROVISION FOR AMENDMENTPROPOSED AMENDMENTOUR COMMENTS
Clause 2

Interpretation

“child care” means services that have as their primary purpose the care and supervision of children as defined under this Act.

By specifying that the primary purpose of child care services is the care and supervision of children, it ensures that these services are designed and regulated with the well-being and safety of children as the central focus.

“child parent” means a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years and is a mother or a father of a child.

Recognizing child parents as a distinct category can facilitate the development of targeted support services tailored to their needs, such as parenting classes, childcare assistance and counselling.

Secondly, identifying and supporting child parents can contribute to their overall health and well-being, as well as that of their children, by providing access to healthcare, education and social services.

“care centre” means a facility that provides child care services, but does not include a family home.

Care centres are staffed by trained professionals who are experienced in child development and caregiving. By utilizing care centres, child parents can ensure that their children receive high-quality care and supervision from qualified individuals while they pursue educational or vocational opportunities.

“principal” means the lead educator or administrator in an institution of basic education and training and includes the proprietor or director of a private school or a person in charge of a borstal institution.

We propose that the definition of this term appears after the definition of “institution of basic education and training”. The rationale for this proposal is that defined terms in clause 2 of all Bills are arranged alphabetically.

“institution of basic education and training” a public or private institution or facility used wholly or partly, regularly or periodically for conducting basic education and training and includes a school, a tuition facility, an educational centre, an academy, a research institution, a school correctional facility or a borstal institution.

This definition allows for flexibility in how education is delivered, acknowledging that learning can occur in various settings and formats. This flexibility accommodates different learning preferences, schedules and life circumstances, making education more accessible and adaptable to the needs of child parents.

Secondly, we propose the addition of the word “means” that appears after the word “training”. This proposal seeks to correct the omission present in this clause.

Clause 3

Objects

The objects of this Act are to:

a. provide a framework for the protection of the rights set out under Article 53(1)(c) and (d) of the Constitution in relation to child parents;
b. provide a framework through which the expectant girl child and a child parent can realise their right to education and at the same time, ensure the care and protection of his or her child; and
c. provide a framework of standards for the establishment and regulation of care centres by county governments.

The Bill seeks to ensure the care and protection of child parents. By establishing standards for the establishment and regulation of care centres by county governments, the Bill aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for children while the child parents pursue education or other opportunities. This promotes the well-being and development of children, ensuring that they receive the care and attention they need during their formative years.

Clause 6

Exemption from imposition of the Levy

The Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for the National Treasury may, on the recommendation of the Cabinet Secretary, provide, by notice in the Gazette, that:

a. any income or class of income; or
b. any person or category of persons, shall be exempt from the application of section 4 to the extent specified in the notice.

We propose that the criteria used by the Cabinet Secretary to determine if a person will be exempted from paying the Levy is included in this clause.

This proposal enhances transparency as it creates a legal framework that the Cabinet Secretary will follow in determining whether a person can be exempted from paying the Levy.

PART II – CARE OF EXPECANT CHILDREN AND CHILD PARENTS

Clause 10

Purpose of the Fund

The purpose of the Fund shall be to provide funds for the development of affordable housing and associated social and physical infrastructure.

Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Fund shall:

a. facilitate the provision of funds for affordable housing and affordable housing schemes in the promotion of home ownership;
b. provide low interest loans for the acquisition of affordable housing units within the approved affordable housing schemes;
c. facilitate the development of affordable housing schemes in all counties;
d. develop long term finance solutions for the development and off-take of affordable housing;
e. provide funds for maintenance of any land or building, estate or interest therein, for any of the purposes of the Fund; and
f. fund any other activities incidental to the furtherance of the objects of the Fund.

The addition of paragraph (b) is a good addition. Firstly, providing low-interest loans for the acquisition of affordable housing units promotes home ownership and helps individuals and families achieve housing security and stability.

For paragraph (c), the Fund aims to facilitate the development of affordable housing schemes in all counties. This contributes to balanced regional development and reduces disparities in housing availability between urban and rural areas.

For paragraph (d), developing long-term finance solutions for the development and off-take of affordable housing promotes sustainable housing development practices and ensures ongoing availability of funds for affordable housing projects.

Clause 11

Allocations out of the Fund

The Board shall allocate out of the Fund:

a. thirty percent of the monies to the National Housing Corporation for the development, maintenance, rehabilitation and off-take of affordable housing programmes and projects;
b. thirty percent of the monies to slum upgrading, maintenance, rehabilitation and offtake of affordable housing programmes and projects under the Public Finance Management (Kenya Slum Upgrading, Low-Cost Housing and Infrastructure Trust Fund) Regulations 2006;
c. thirty six percent of the monies to the State Department responsible for matters relating to affordable housing for the development, maintenance, rehabilitation and offtake of institutional housing programmes and projects approved by Cabinet;
d. up to two percent to the collector for the collection of the Levy as may be approved by the Cabinet Secretary forie the time being responsible for the National Treasury on the recommendation of the Cabinet Secretary; and
e. up to two percent of the monies to the Board for the administration of the Fund as may be approved by the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for the National Treasury on the recommendation of the Cabinet Secretary.

By allocating specific percentages of funds to different agencies, the Board ensures that resources are directed towards targeted areas of affordable housing development, including maintenance, rehabilitation and slum upgrading. This focused utilization enhances the impact and effectiveness of the Fund's activities in addressing housing affordability challenges.

Secondly, the allocation percentages reflect a balanced approach to addressing various aspects of affordable housing, including the development of institutional housing, slum upgrading and maintenance. This ensures that resources are distributed equitably across different priority areas, promoting balanced and inclusive development.


Clause 4

Obligations of the National Government with respect to child parents

The national government shall, to the extent of its constitutional mandate, promote the care and protection of expectant children and child parents.

In ensuring that the National Government fulfils its obligations under subsection (1), the National Council for Children Services (“the Council”) shall:

a. put in place mechanisms that will help establish a comprehensive capacity building programme for child parents to ensure they practice responsible parenting;
b. establish, in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary responsible for matters relating to education, non-discriminatory enrolment, back to school or other training programmes and initiate necessary strategies that will identify persons within this group to benefit from the programmes;
c. collaborate with the National Social Assistance Authority to ensure that needy child parents of children born with special needs or care takers of such needy parents, are beneficiaries of social assistance;
d. identify, in consultation with personnel of institutions of basic learning and such other institutions as it may consider appropriate, children who are pregnant and who are in need of interventions to enable them to realise the rights conferred on a child under Article 53 of the Constitution;
e. address any educational and related barriers faced by pregnant and parenting learners; and
f. guarantee funding and sustainability of the initiative and other child welfare programmes aimed at benefiting child parents.

In performing its functions under subsection (1), the Council shall:

a. collaborate with the relevant public entities in the establishment of mechanisms that ensure that expectant children and child parents have access to community and State based care support systems;
b. collaborate with the county governments and relevant State and private agencies in carrying out activities for the provision of such pre-natal, postnatal and other health services, education and other support services to expectant children and child parents within the respective counties;
c. conduct research, analysis of data and disseminate information on the welfare of expectant children and child parents in the Republic; and
d. collaborate with the county governments in:

i. establishing a mechanism for the care of expectant children and child parents to ensure that the rights conferred on a child under Article 53 of the Constitution are attained with respect to such children; and
ii. expanding and strengthening the educational framework and the community and family-based care and support systems for the care of expectant children and child parents; and

e. perform such other functions as may be necessary for the implementation of this Act.

The Council may, for the purpose of subsection (3), conduct inquiries, including public inquiries, into any matter relating to the welfare, care and protection of expectant children and child parents within a County.

The Council aims to ensure that child parents have equal access to education and training opportunities. This helps to break down barriers to education and promotes the social inclusion and empowerment of child parents, enabling them to pursue their educational and vocational goals.

By establishing a comprehensive capacity building program for child parents, the Council can help ensure that these individuals have the knowledge, skills and support they need to practice responsible parenting. This promotes positive parenting practices, child development and family stability.

The Council aims to address any educational and related barriers faced by pregnant and parenting learners, such as stigma, discrimination, lack of childcare support or inadequate access to resources. By removing these barriers, child parents can continue their education and pursue their academic studies without interruption.

Fourthly, guaranteeing funding and sustainability for initiatives aimed at benefiting child parents ensures the long-term effectiveness and impact of these programs. Adequate funding enables the Council to provide ongoing support, resources and services to child parents.

Clause 5

Obligations of a county government with respect to the care of neglected children

Each county executive committee member shall:

a. put in place management plans and strategies for the delivery of social services and child care support services to expectant children and child parents within the County;
b. collaborate with the County Education Board and the county executive committee member responsible for education in establishing:

i. programmes to ensure that expectant children and child parents have access to education services; and
ii. academic support programmes that ensure that learners with extended absences for reasons related to pregnancy and parenting are able to enrol back into school or to such other education facility in order to access education services;

c. formulate and implement county specific programmes for the integration of expectant children and child parents into society and institutions of basic education within the respective County;
d. design, in collaboration with the Council and within the policy framework established by the national government, county specific programmes for the prevention of child pregnancies and programmes for the support, mentorship and development of expectant children and child parents;
e. put in place and implement in consultation with the relevant public entities, interventions for the care, protection and alleviation of the plight of expectant children and child parents:

i. with special needs or requiring special care and attention within the County; and
ii. living in conditions of acute hardship including street children and children who abuse drugs or who suffer any form of child abuse;

f. establish such child care centres and implement such programmes as may be necessary for the provision of child care services to child parents who intend to enrol back to school and who do not have access to support services for the care of their child; and
g. collaborate with the Council in the provision of such technical assistance, information and facilities as may be necessary to ensure the efficient delivery of social services with respect to expectant children and child parents within the county.

County governments are responsible for formulating and implementing programs that integrate child parents into society. This promotes social inclusion, empowerment and access to educational opportunities for child parents.

Secondly, county governments collaborate with education authorities to establish programs that ensure child parents have access to education services. This collaboration promotes educational opportunities and ensures that child parents can continue their education despite the challenges they may face due to pregnancy or parenting responsibilities.


PART III — SCHOOL DROPOUT PREVENTION AND RE-ENTRY PROGRAMMES

Clause 6

Role of national and county governments in the prevention of drop out

The National and county governments shall:

a. formulate policies for the re-admission and integration of children who have dropped out of school by reason of pregnancy;
b. put in place programmes and interventions:

i. for the identification of factors leading to child pregnancies and the dropping out of institutions of basic education and training, by children; and
ii. that prevent the dropping out of children from institutions of basic education and training; and

c. put in place programmes for the assistance and education of vulnerable children and children in areas identified as having a high dropout rate owing to child pregnancy;
d. collaborate with the relevant stakeholders in the establishment of dropout prevention programmes that provide information and education to build upon the children’s own knowledge, skills, values and attitudes; and
e. put in place programmes:

i. aimed at capacity building for child parents to ensure that they are able to support their families; and
ii. for responsible parenting.

Prevention programmes established under subsection (1) shall:

a. involve the parents and guardians of the children in the governance of institutions of basic education and training and in the development of the code of conduct of the institution and strategies to prevent teenage pregnancies;
b. encompass the provision of relevant information and support for the prevention of teenage pregnancies;
c. include the sensitisation of children and their parents on issues that have a negative impact on the school attendance of children;
d. create linkages between institutions of basic education and training and the communities they serve with the aim of encouraging school attendance, sensitization and collaboration on issues affecting school attendance; and
e. promote healthy lifestyles through positive role modelling and encouraging children to participate in activities and advocacy and awareness programmes that have a positive impact and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Formulating policies for the re-admission and integration of child parents who have dropped out of school due to pregnancy promotes access to education and ensures that child parents are not excluded from educational opportunities.

Secondly, collaborating with relevant stakeholders in the establishment of dropout prevention programs ensures a comprehensive approach that addresses the multifaceted factors contributing to child pregnancy and dropout. This can involve partnerships with schools, community organizations, healthcare providers and government agencies to provide holistic support to child parents.

Clause 23

Fund not to be overdrawn

The administrator of the Fund shall ensure that no bank accounts of the Fund are overdrawn.

By preventing bank accounts from being overdrawn, the administrator of the Fund promotes financial discipline and responsible management of monies in the Fund. This helps maintain financial stability and prevents unnecessary debt accumulation.

Clause 7

Management plans

Each institution of basic education and training shall develop a management plan for the support of any learner who falls pregnant while enrolled in the institution.

The management board of an institution of basic education and training shall:

a. put in place programmes with the aim of preventing teenage pregnancies;
b. treat each case of a learner who falls pregnant while in an institution of basic education and training confidentially and professionally;
c. adopt an inclusive approach that involves the support of the child and parents or guardians of the affected child or children who are at risk of dropping out of school; and
d. in putting in place interventions or responses in situations of child drop out, ensure that the educational interests of the child are upheld.

Putting in place programs aimed at preventing teenage pregnancies can help raise awareness, provide education on reproductive health and offer support services to students. This proactive approach can help reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies and promote the overall well-being of students.

Secondly, treating each case of a learner who falls pregnant confidentially helps protect the privacy and dignity of the student. It creates a safe and supportive environment where students feel comfortable seeking assistance and support without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Clause 8

Rights of pregnant and parenting learners

Every child who:

a. while enrolled in an institution of basic education and training, falls pregnant and as a result, drops out of school; or
b. is of school going age but falls pregnant while out of school, shall have the right to be readmitted or enrolled into an institution of basic education and training.

Every child under subsection (1) shall have the right to:

a. remain in school and to receive the necessary support to continue with their education and participate fully during their pregnancy or as a parent learner;
b. fully participate in educational programs and activities of the institution;
c. guidance and support to enable the child to return to her regular education programme after delivery and after the baby is weaned; and
d. be re-admitted at the same level the child was in before they left the institution to deliver the baby unconditionally.

Where a child intends to join an institution of basic education and training other than that which the child was in prior to her pregnancy, the principal shall, in consultation with the Sub-County Director of Education facilitate the child in gaining admission into another institution of basic education and training.
By allowing child parents to re-enroll in an institution of basic education and training, it ensures they have access to education despite their circumstances. This can prevent interruptions in their education and provide them with the opportunity to continue learning and pursuing their academic goals.

Clause 9

Role of governments in ensuring re-admission of drop out children

The national and county governments shall:

a. develop and implement a plan for identifying and re-engaging:

I. children who have dropped out of institutions of basic education owing to teenage pregnancies; and
II. vulnerable children who have dropped out of, or who are likely to drop out of institutions of basic education and training owing to factors beyond their control, in order to ensure that they are readmitted and integrated into the education system;

b. establish partnerships with community-based organisations, education providers and other relevant stakeholders in order to:

i. provide a broad range of educational options and services for children who drop out of school under this Part; and
ii. counsel children in schools on adolescent sexuality, responsible behaviour and the consequence of child pregnancies; and

c. ensure that the education system in place takes into account the best interests of children who fall pregnant while in school.

In this section, a “vulnerable child” means a child who faces circumstances that increase the likelihood of dropping out of an institution of basic education owing to child pregnancy.

By developing and implementing a plan to identify and re-engage children who have dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancies, this initiative aims to ensure that all children have access to education, regardless of their circumstances.

Secondly, establishing partnerships with community-based organizations and other stakeholders facilitates the provision of a broad range of educational options and services for children who drop out of institutions of basic education and training due to teenage pregnancies. This collaborative approach enhances the effectiveness of interventions aimed at supporting these children.

Clause 10

Management of teenage pregnancies in school

Where a child falls pregnant or a teacher or person in authority within an institution of basic education and training has a reason to believe that a child within the institution is pregnant, the matter shall be referred to the principal of the institution.

The principal shall, upon receipt of the information under subsection (1) and before any action is taken, inform the parent or guardian of the child’s pregnancy.

The principal shall not inform the parent or guardian of the child’s pregnancy where they have sufficient grounds to believe that it may prejudice the safety and wellbeing of the pregnant child.

By requiring the principal to inform the parent or guardian of a pregnant student, this provision ensures parental involvement in the situation. This can be crucial for providing emotional and practical support to the pregnant student during a potentially challenging time.

Secondly, sub-clause (3) acknowledges situations where informing the parent or guardian might jeopardize the safety or well-being of the pregnant child. This clause protects the pregnant student from potential harm that could arise from disclosing the pregnancy to their family, particularly in cases of abuse or neglect.

Clause 11

Medical examination

Where the principal of the institution of basic education is of the opinion that a child may be pregnant, the principal shall refer the child to a health institution for a medical examination and such other health examination as may be necessary to determine the status of the child.

A child shall not be compelled to undergo a medical examination where she refuses to undergo the examination.

Where a child refuses to undergo a medical examination under subsection (2), the institution of basic education shall not be held liable for any consequences that may arise from the failure by the child to undergo the medical examination.

We propose the deletion of sub-clauses (2) and (3). Medical examinations can help detect any pregnancy-related complications early on, allowing for timely medical intervention and treatment if necessary. This can prevent potential health risks to the pregnant student and the unborn child.


Cause 12

Provision of pre and post-natal health information

The health professionals under section (11) shall provide the child with pre and post-natal health information and such other information as may be necessary, including any risks that may arise, to ensure the health and best welfare of the child is maintained.

Providing pregnant students with information about potential risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth allows them to be aware of possible complications and take proactive measures to mitigate these risks. This contributes to better health outcomes for both the pregnant student and unborn child.

Clause 13

Provision of counselling and support services

The institution of basic education and training shall provide the necessary counselling services to the pregnant child and to her parents or guardians regarding the management of the pregnancy, the provision of support services to the child and the parents to ensure the child’s emotional stability and wellbeing during and after pregnancy and the importance of continuing with education after delivery.


Counselling sessions can educate the pregnant child and her parents or guardians about the management of pregnancy, available support services and the importance of continuing education after delivery. This can empower them with the knowledge and resources needed to make informed decisions regarding the health, education and future prospects of the pregnant child.

We recommend the amendment of the clause from pregnant child to child parent, so as to include children responsible for the pregnancy.

Clause 14

Confidentiality

Every case of a child who falls pregnant in an institution of basic education and training shall be handled by the management of the institution in a manner that ensures confidentiality.

Upholding confidentiality demonstrates respect for the privacy rights of the pregnant child and her family. It allows them to manage their personal situation without fear of judgment or unnecessary disclosure to others.

We recommend the amendment of this clause to note that the confidentiality will be applied to the child parent.

Clause 15

Disclosure of the identity of the person responsible for a child’s pregnancy

Where it is determined that the person responsible for the pregnancy is an adult, the principal shall report the case to the County Director of Education, the nearest police station and the Council.

Where the person responsible for the pregnancy is determined, under subsection (1) to be a teacher, the principal shall make a report to the Teachers Service Commission, in addition to the persons under subsection (1).


Reporting cases where an adult is responsible for the pregnancy of a minor helps protect the rights and well-being of the minor involved. It ensures that appropriate authorities are informed so that necessary actions can be taken to safeguard the minor from potential harm or exploitation.


Clause 16

Right to re-admission

Every child who drops out of an institution of basic education and training by reason of pregnancy shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be admitted back into an institution of basic education and training unconditionally upon weaning the baby and shall be allowed to join at the level at which she left prior to dropping out.

The Cabinet Secretary responsible for matters relating to basic education shall issue guidelines for the conditions for the re-admission of children into institutions of basic education and training under subsection (1).

Discrimination and exclusion can increase the risk of pregnant students dropping out of school, which can have long-term negative consequences on their future prospects and well-being. By actively working to reintegrate pregnant students into school, this promotes educational continuity, setting the stage for better life outcomes for both the child parent and her child.

Clause 17

Re-admission

An institution of basic education shall not discriminate against a child who falls pregnant while in school or who is readmitted in school and shall put in place measures to ensure the re-integration of the child back into the school.

Non-discrimination policies ensure that child parents have equal access to education. By allowing them to continue their education without fear of discrimination or exclusion, these policies promote the fundamental right to education for all children, regardless of their life circumstances.

Clause 18

Obligations of parents and guardians

A parent or guardian of a child who falls pregnant shall not be discharged from their responsibilities regarding the pregnant child and shall collaborate with the institution of basic education in supporting and monitoring the health of the child and ensuring that the child continues with her education after delivery and the baby is weaned.

Collaborating with parents or guardians can help ensure that the child parent continues her education after birth of the child. With the support of her family, the pregnant child is able to balance the responsibilities of motherhood with her academic pursuits, reducing the risk of dropout and enhancing her future prospects.

Clause 19

Obligations of the institution of basic education and training

The management of an institution of basic education and training shall:

a. allow a child who falls pregnant while in school to continue with classes for as long as possible prior to delivery;
b. counsel the child and her parents or guardians on the importance of ensuring good outcome of the pregnancy by attending ante-natal clinic and ensuring safe delivery, and the possibilities of continuing with education after delivery;
c. provide academic support, parenting and life skills classes and strategies to prevent future unplanned pregnancies; and
d. assist pregnant and parenting learners to gain access to affordable child care facilities.

The management of an institution of basic education of training shall not discriminate against a child who falls pregnant while in school and shall put in place, enforceable rules and such other mechanisms to ensure that the other children within the school do not mistreat or in any way discriminate against the child.

The management of an institution of basic education and training shall not exclude a child under this part from any programmes of the school or force the child to attend different programs from those of her peers only for the reason of the child being pregnant.

A child who falls pregnant while in school shall be given an opportunity to make up for any missed classes o r examinations in the case of pregnancy-related absences.

Allowing pregnant students to continue attending classes for as long as possible prior to delivery enables them to maintain their educational progress. This continuity reduces disruptions to their learning, mitigate the risk of academic regression and improves their chances of academic success post-pregnancy.

Secondly, assisting pregnant and parenting learners in accessing affordable child-care facilities addresses a significant barrier to their continued education. By providing practical support in arranging child-care, institutions enable pregnant and child parents to attend classes with peace of mind, knowing that their children are well cared for in care centres. This support enhances the likelihood of these students remaining engaged in their education and completing their studies.

Thirdly, the addition of sub-clause (2) is a good proposal as it ensures compliance with the provision of article 27(4) of the Constitution.

Clause 20

Offence

Where an institution of basic education and training refuses to re-admit a child under this Part, the principal and each member of the management board of the institution commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.









This clause acts as a deterrence in ensuring that the management board of an institution of basic education and training complies with the provisions of Part III of the Bill.

PART IV – ESTABLISHMENT OF CARE CENTRES

Clause 21

Establishment of care centres

A county government may establish and maintain such care centres as it may consider necessary for the care of children of not more than three years of age.

A county government may, for the purposes of sub-section (1), establish care centres in, or within the vicinity of an institution of basic education and training in order to ensure access to such facilities by a child parent.

A person shall not establish or manage a care centre unless the centre is registered, and a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

The provisions of subsection (3) shall not apply with respect to a care centre that is established by a county government.

Care centres prioritize the safety and well-being of children by implementing safety protocols, maintaining a secure environment and providing constant supervision. Child parents can feel confident that their children are in a safe and protected environment while they are continuing with their education at an institution of basic education and training.

Secondly, the addition of sub-clause (3) is a good proposal as it acts as a deterrence in ensuring that only registered care centres can offer care centre services to child parents.

Clause 22

Services rendered in a care centre

A care centre established under this Act may render services for the care of children who are not more than three years and who are born to:

a. child parents who intend to resume with their education and who have no access to care services; or
b. such other persons within the county who have no person to care for the child or access to child care services.

A care centre allows child parents to pursue their education goals. By offering child-care services, the care centre enables child parents to attend classes or engage in other educational activities without worrying about the care of their children.

Clause 23

Requirements in relation to a care centre

In establishing a care centre, a county government shall ensure that the:

a. premises of the care centre meets the requirements set out under this Act and prescribed under the relevant county legislation;
b. design of the care centre premises allows for adequate supervision of children;
c. day care services delivered in the care centre are affordable;
d. care centre is accessible, taking into account the needs of a child and any special needs that a child may have;
e. children cared for in the care centre will not be exposed to any undue threat to their health or safety arising from the nature of the premises or their environs;
f. personnel within the care centre are qualified to provide day care services and handle any illnesses and emergencies that may ari se in relation to a child-cared for in the care centre; and
g. care centre is equipped with suitable equipment for the delivery of child-care services as may be prescribed by the county executive committee member.

Designing the care centre premises to allow for adequate supervision of children promotes their safety and well-being. This ensures that caregivers can effectively monitor children's activities and respond promptly to any issues or emergencies, reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.

Secondly, employing qualified personnel who are trained to provide daycare services and handle emergencies ensures high-quality care for children. Qualified caregivers have the necessary expertise to support children's development, address their individual needs and respond effectively to any medical or safety concerns that may arise.

Clause 24

Requirement for registration and licensing of a care centre

A person shall not own or operate a care centre unless:

a. the care centre is registered in accordance with this Act; and
b. such person is issued with a licence to operate the care centre under this Act.

A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) commits an offence and shall be liable, o n conviction, to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.

This clause acts as a deterrence in ensuring that only registered care centres can offer child-care services to child parents.

Clause 25

Registration of care centres and licensing of applicants by a county government

A person who intends to establish a care centre shall make an application to the county executive committee member in the prescribed form for registration and the issuance of a licence to operate the care centre.

Legislation by each county government shall set out the:

a. criteria for the registration of care centre within the respective county;
b. information required to be submitted by an applicant for registration;
c. process of determination of an application for registration of a care centre;
d. the conditions for the issuance of a licence under this Act;
e. the grounds for and the process of rejecting an application or cancelling a licence issued under this Act; or
f. the process of issuance of a licence to an applicant for the management of a care centre; and
g. process of application for the renewal of licences, de-registration and revocation of a licence issued to an applicant under this Act.

We propose the addition of timelines in this clause. This proposal ensures that the application form is reviewed within a prescribed period without delays.


Clause 26

Location assessment of intended care centre

An application for registration and licencing shall undertake and submit, together with the application for registration under section 25, a location assessment report setting out evidence of the steps taken to ensure that the premises used for the purposes of the care centre are appropriately and suitably located.

A location assessment report shall contain the following information:

a. whether the premises are suitably located so that children cared for in the care centre are:

i. effectively safeguarded; and
ii. able to access services to meet the needs identified for their care;

b. accessibility of the care centre and distance from institutions of basic education and training within the county;
c. whether there are environmental factors that would represent a hazard to children within the care centre; and
d. such other criteria as the county executive committee member shall determine.

A person who is licensed under this Act shall undertake a location assessment to review the appropriateness and suitability of the location of the premises at least once in every four calendar years.

Ensuring that the care centre is suitably located to effectively safeguard children is paramount for their safety and well-being. The location assessment report helps identify potential risks and hazards in the surrounding area, allowing for appropriate measures to be implemented to protect the children.

Secondly, evaluating the accessibility of the care centre and its distance from institutions of basic education and training within the county is important for ensuring that children have easy access to educational opportunities. Proximity to educational institutions facilitates seamless transitions between childcare and formal education, promoting continuity in the children's learning and development.

Thirdly, assessing environmental factors that may represent hazards to children within the care centre helps identify potential risks such as pollution or natural hazards. By identifying and mitigating these risks, the assessment enhances the safety and well-being of children in the care centre.

Clause 27

Cancellation of a licence

The county executive committee member may, subject to the provisions of section 28, cancel a licence issued to an applicant under this Act in accordance with regulations under sub-section (4).

The county executive committee member shall not cancel a license under subsection (1) unless the committee member:

a. issues to the licensee, a notice in writing, of at least fourteen days of the intention to revoke the licence; and
b. grants the licensee, an opportunity to he heard on the revocation.

The county executive committee member shall cancel the licence issued to an applicant in relation to, and de-register a care centre which has ceased to be a care centre or which has been closed down.

County legislation shall prescribe the grounds for, and the process of, cancelling a licence issued to a person to manage a care centre under this Act.

The addition of this clause is a good proposal as it allows the county executive committee to cancel a licence when the licence holder fails to comply with the provisions of this Bill.

Secondly, the addition of sub-clause (2)(b) is a good proposal as it ensures that the Bill complies with the provisions of article 50 of the Constitution.

Clause 28

Notice of non-compliance

A county executive committee member shall, before cancelling the licence issued to a person to manage a care centre under this Act issue to the licensee a compliance notice in the prescribed form.

A compliance notice issued under subsection (1) shall:

a. be in writing;
b. notify the licensee of the non-compliance and the steps required to be undertaken in order to comply; and
c. inform the licensee of the time period within which the manager is required to comply with the notice.

The county executive committee member may, upon request by the licensee and, where there are sufficient grounds shown by the licensee, extend the period of compliance for such period as the committee member may consider necessary to ensure compliance.

A compliance notice provides the licensee with the first opportunity to comply with the Bill’s provisions before the licence can be cancelled on grounds of non-compliance.

Clause 29

Closure of a care centre

Where a licensee intends to close down a care centre for any other reason other than the de-registration of the care centre, the licensee shall:

a. inform the county executive committee member of the intention to close down the care centre and submit a report to the committee member containing information regarding:

i. the children that have been cared for in the care centre;
ii. the management and persons employed in the care centre;
iii. any investigations or cases that may have been carried out or instituted against the care centre or that are pending in relation to the care centre; and
iv. such other information as the county executive committee member may require.

A licensee shall not close down the care centre unless the licensee has applied for and obtained the approval of the county executive committee member in the prescribed form.

The county executive committee member shall, upon receipt of an application to close a care centre under subsection (2), consider the application within a period of thirty days and approve the application for such closure except where:

a. the manager fails to comply with subsection (2); or
b. such closure would be against public interest.

By informing the county executive committee member of the intention to close the care centre, it ensures that appropriate measures are taken to safeguard the welfare and safety of the children affected by the closure. This may include facilitating the transfer of children to other care centres and ensuring that their needs are met.

Clause 30

Submission of reports on the management of a care centre

The licensee under this Act shall, within three months from the end of each financial year, submit to the county executive committee member and the Council, a report on the management of the care centre containing the following information:

a. compliance with the standards for service delivery, prescribed in this Act or any other law;
b. the average number of children that are cared for on a daily basis in the care centre;
c. compliance with principles of sound management systems;
d. compliance with the conditions for continued registration; and
e. such other information as the county executive committee member may require.

When the manager of a care centre fails to submit a report in accordance with sub-section (1), the county executive committee member may revoke the licence issued to the licensee and de-register of the care centre or take such action, as the county executive committee member may consider necessary to ensure compliance.

The requirement for reporting on the average number of children cared for on a daily basis allows for the collection of valuable information that will be used for planning and monitoring purposes.

For sub-clause (1)(d), this provision helps regulatory authorities assess whether care centres comply with the requirements stated in the Bill. This ensures that care centres operate within the stipulated legal framework which contributes to the safety and well-being of children in care centres.

PART V – CARE OF CHILDREN WITHIN A CARE CENTRE

Clause 32

Delivery of a child care in a care centre

In delivering child care services under this Act, a licensee shall ensure:

a. that there is established a system for sharing with parents, information on matters that may affect the children cared for in the care centre;
b. the protection and promotion of the welfare of each child in the care centre;
c. that every child receives personalised care;
d. that all children are within the sight and sound of the personnel in the care centre; and
e. that each child is provided with the basic necessities including food.

For paragraph (a), parents can stay informed about their child's well-being, development and any issues that may arise, fostering trust and collaboration between the care centre and parents.

For paragraph (c), tailoring care to each child's individual needs acknowledges their unique personalities, preferences, and developmental stages, potentially enhancing their overall well-being and development.

For paragraph (d), keeping children within sight ensures that personnel in a care centre can quickly respond to any emergencies or safety concerns, preventing accidents or injuries.

Clause 33

Management of a care centre

A licensee shall ensure that:

a. the number of children resident in the care centre at any time shall not exceed the number specified in the licence;
b. a child who is not within the age limits specified in the licence is not admitted into the care centre;
c. the standards set out in:

I. legislation enacted by the county government pursuant this Act; or
II. any other legislation applicable to a care centre, i ssued, are observed in relation to the care centre; and

d. the licence is displayed in a conspicuous place in the care centre.

By limiting the number of children in the care centre to the specified capacity, it helps maintain a safe and manageable environment. This ensures that each child receives adequate attention, supervision and care from the staff without overcrowding.

Secondly, displaying the licence prominently informs parents and guardians that the care centre meets regulatory standards. It fosters transparency and trust, allowing families to make informed decisions about the care of their children. It also provides reassurance that the care centre is operating legally and has undergone necessary inspections and evaluations.

Clause 34

Records relating to children in a care centre

The licensee of a care centre shall keep or cause to be kept a register containing all available information on the status, health and welfare of a child and such information as relating to the parents of the child as the county executive committee member may prescribe.

The register enables staff to quickly access important information in case of emergencies or unexpected situations. This can include contact information for parents or guardians, medical history and any special instructions or precautions that need to be taken.

Clause 35

Services rendered within a care centre

The licensee of a care centre registered under this Act shall ensure that the following services are provided in the care centre:

a. continuous care services to children in the care centre;
b. care and supervision services to children in the care centre who may have special needs and those in need of special care and attention;
c. counselling and rehabilitation to a child parent who has sought the services of the care centre;
d. outreach programmes; and
e. recreational activities.

Providing continuous care services ensures that children in the care centre receive consistent supervision, support and attention throughout their time there. This fosters a sense of security and stability for the children, promoting their overall well-being and development.


Clause 36

Role of management of a care centre

The licensee of a care centre shall:

a. ensure that the premises used for the purposes of the care centre are designed and furnished so as to:

i. meet the needs of each child; and
ii. enable each child to participate in the daily life of the care centre;

b. ensure that any care that is arranged or provided for a child that relates to the child’s development;
c. seek to develop and maintain effective professional relationships with such persons, bodies or organizations as may be appropriate having regard to the range of needs of children to whom the care centre provides care and accommodation;
d. ensure the provision of quality service in the care centre;
e. ensure the continuous training of the personnel in the care centre;
f. apply principles of sound financial management and submit quarterly financial reports to the county executive committee member; and
g. monitor activities at the care centre in order to deal speedily with any incidents of abuse of the children in the care centre and takes steps to report such incidents to the appropriate authority.

The licensee of a care centre shall ensure that:

a. the standard of care provided in the care centre is reviewed from time to time to ensure that the obligations with respect to the provision of care in the care centre under this Act are met;
b. the care is delivered by persons who:

i. have the experience, knowledge and skills to deliver that care; and
ii. are under the supervision of a person who is appropriately skilled and qualified to supervise that care; and

c. there is in place a medical facility within the vicinity of the care centre.

Committing to providing quality service ensures that children receive the best possible care and support in the care centre. This includes meeting regulatory standards, implementing best practices and continuously striving for improvement in all aspects of child care.

Secondly, continuous training of personnel ensures that caregivers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to meet the evolving needs of children in their care. This promotes professionalism, effectiveness and the delivery of high-quality child care services.

Thirdly, applying principles of sound financial management and submitting financial reports ensures transparency, accountability and sustainability in the operation of a care centre. This supports the efficient use of resources in the care centre.

PART VI – INSPECTION AND EVALUATION OF SAFETY IN A CARE CENTRE

Clause 37

Safety in a care centre

The licensee of a care centre under this Act shall:

a. maintain premises that meet the requirements of the occupational health, safety regulations and building standards;
b. ensure the welfare and safety of the children within the care centre;
c. put in place fire fighting equipment, first aid and other emergency equipment and non-prescription medicine as the county executive committee member may prescribe; and
d. have a list of the contacts of emergency service providers including hospitals, readily available to all members of staff.

In providing the equipment specified under subsection (1)(c), the licensee shall ensure that such equipment is accessible during an emergency.

The equipment and medicine under subsection (1) shall be maintained or kept by a centre in such manner as to ensure that it is out of the reach of children and ensures that the safety of the children is not compromised.

The county executive committee member shall prescribe minimum standards for the health and safety of children and for a satisfactory environment for the housing of the children in the care centre.

Prioritizing the welfare and safety of children within the care centre creates a secure and protective environment. This helps to prevent accidents, injuries and incidents of harm on the children.

Secondly, putting in place fire fighting equipment, first aid supplies, emergency equipment and non-prescription medicine ensures that the care centre is prepared to respond effectively to emergencies or medical incidents. This can mitigate risks, minimize harm and save lives in critical situations.

Thirdly, having a readily available list of emergency service providers, including hospitals and other relevant contacts, ensures that staff can quickly access assistance when needed. This facilitates prompt response and appropriate action in emergency situations.

The addition of sub-clause (3) is a good proposal. By keeping medicine out of reach, the risk of accidental injury or ingestion by children is significantly reduced. This prioritizes their safety and well-being within the care centre.

Clause 38

Appointment of inspectors

The county executive committee member shall, for the purposes of monitoring and evaluating the provision of services by care centres registered under this Act, designate such authorised officers or other county public officers as the county executive committee member may consider appropriate.

The County Public Service Board shall, in consultation with the county executive committee member, issue to every inspector appointed under subsection (1) in writing or in such form as the County Public Service Board may determine, a certificate of appointment and authority to act as an inspector.

A person appointed as an inspector under subsection (1) may, at all reasonable times, enter a care centre and:

a. enter the care centre and to have access to every part thereof;
b. interview any personnel in the care centre;
c. inspect, photocopy, print out or copy onto disk any documents, whether held in electronic or paper form, that the person believes on reasonable grounds to be those of the care centre; or
d. remove any document specified in paragraph (c), whether in its original form or as an electronic or paper copy.

Every person exercising any power under this section shall, at the time of inspection, possess the appropriate written authorisation and evidence of identity, and shall produce them to the person in charge of the care centre concerned or, as the case may be, the person having possession or control of the books, records or accounts concerned:

a. on first entering the premises; and
b. whenever subsequently reasonably required to do so by the person in charge.

For the purposes of this section, inspection, in relation to any care centre, includes meeting and talking with the children residing in the care centre.

The county executive committee member shall make regulations for the conduct of inspections of care centres under this Act.

Inspectors can enter care centres and access all areas to verify compliance with regulations, standards and licensing requirements. This promotes accountability and ensures that care centres provide a safe and suitable environment for children.

Secondly, interviewing staff of the care centre allows inspectors to gather information about practices, procedures and conditions within the care centre. This helps assess the quality of care, identify areas for improvement and address any concerns related to staff conduct or competence.

The addition of sub-clause (4) is a good proposal. Requiring inspectors to produce documentation allows the care centre staff to verify the legitimacy of the inspection. This helps prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to the care centre under the guise of an inspection, ensuring the safety and security of the children and staff.

However, the clause is silent on the qualifications for appointment as an inspector.Therefore, we recommend the inclusion of these requirements.

Clause 39

Powers of an inspection officer

Every written authorisation issued to an inspector under section 38 shall contain:

a. a reference to this section;
b. the full name of the person authorised; and
c. a statement of the powers conferred on that person by this section.

Including the full name of the authorized person helps the care centre staff identify the inspector and verify their credentials. This ensures that only authorized individuals are allowed to conduct inspections, enhancing security and accountability.

Secondly, clearly stating the powers conferred on the inspector by this clause of the Bill ensures transparency and accountability. Care centre staff are informed of the scope of the inspector's authority, facilitating cooperation and compliance during the inspection process.






PART VII – MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Clause 40

General penalty

A person who is convicted of an offence under this Act for which no penalty is provided is liable to a fine not exceeding three million shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both.

A general penalty clause acts as a deterrent in discouraging individuals from engaging in activities that violate the Bill. The potential for a penalty provides a strong incentive for compliance with the Bill’s provisions.

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