Report missing child immediately, State orders

Children march along Ngong Road to mark International Missing Children’s Day. [James Wanzala, Standard]

You will no longer have to wait for 48 hours to report a missing child, thanks to the new guidelines on government reporting and tracing missing children.

The new Guidelines on the Management of Missing and Found Children dictate that a missing child should be reported immediately.

Current procedures say one must wait until the lapse of 48 hours before reporting to the police. Once a missing child is reported, an alert will be generated and shared using the agreed channels, including social media platforms.

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

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

In a speech read on her behalf by Secretary Administration, State Department for Social Protection, the CS said the ministry has put up a number of measures to protect children including online child protection, Child Helpline 116 and provision of cash transfers to meet basic needs of families, which she said may be a push factor for children to flee their homes.

The guidelines will also help in preventing confusion and miscommunication throughout the search and recovery process. Children can be reported missing due to abduction, abandonment, running away, getting lost, being trafficked, neglect, insufficient care and supervision, poverty, custody disputes, fleeing danger, being groomed for abuse, or exploitation.

According to the Department of Children Services, mechanisms for promptly responding to cases of missing and found children lack standardisation hence causing disjointed efforts in tracing and enhancing the safety of missing children.

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

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) asked children to use the 11 toll-free number incase they need support.

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