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Adoption: Delay in passage of new law

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Differences on which body should control adoption in the country has derailed the proposed bill on children to get to parliament.

It has now emerged that the proposed new law on children is still stuck at the Labour ministry, headed by Ukurr Yattani despite being complete and ready to be passed to Parliament.

The proposed law proposes a National Adoption Committee, which will be an independent body to review applications for adoptions.

This takes away the powers from the current regime which is headed by children’s welfare lobby Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK). Among the proposals is to include CWSK in the law.

A top official in the Attorney General’s told The Standard that the draft bill, as currently is, factored all the views of Kenyans, but that the single issue delaying it is whether CWSK should manage adoption processes .

“We are ready to forward the draft bill to Parliament. You should ask why the labour ministry is delaying to hand over the same. The taskforce did its work and handed it to the ministry hoping that by January this year, children would benefit from it,” said the official who sought anonymity.

Previous attempt

Two previous attempts to change the Children’s Act failed.

Meanwhile the draft bill has factored in Islamic adoption process referred to as kafaalah and also given room for traditional adoption process known as kinship adoption.

The  Justice Martha Koome led taskforce found that under the current regime, education of majority of children is cut off while they wait for cases to be heard in court and condemns those found guilty to borstal institutions.

If the bill passes into law, it is envisioned that the justice system will be friendly to children and will have structures in which an errant child is corrected in a way that benefits them.

It is proposed that any person who unlawfully deprives a child of his or her liberty or subjects them to torture or other cruel and inhuman punishment or degrading treatment including- corporal punishment, any cultural or religious practice which dehumanises or is injures children physically, mentally and affects their emotional well-being will be liable for a jail term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to both.

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