*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Faith leaders back orphanage phase-out in Kenya

03 May 2024

Alamy

A child sits outside an orphanage in Kenya, last year

A child sits outside an orphanage in Kenya, last year

CHURCH leaders in Kenya have expressed support for a government plan to phase out orphanages over the next decade, after multiple allegations that children in the homes are exposed to abuse and trafficking.

Hundreds of orphanages are run by churches, but many faith leaders support the phasing out of residential homes.

The Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Malindi, the Rt Revd Willybard Kitogho Lagho, told the Religion News Service: “There have been a lot of abuses in these homes. Children have been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused. There have also been cases of child trafficking.”

Allegations of trafficking have not been substantiated.

The Anglican Bishop of Mombasa, the Rt Revd Alphonse Baya Mwaro, said that some children’s homes were run as businesses. “They do not genuinely support children who are orphaned, or who find themselves without family support,” he said.

Many children are believed to have been sent to homes because the family was poor, or for education, and are then used by orphanages to solicit donations.

A UN children’s agency report in 2017 estimated that 40,000 children lived in 811 registered institutions in Kenya. Data on children in unregistered homes is not available. The National Care Reform Strategy for Children in Kenya encourages family reunification and care of children by extended family networks, and support to keep children in their homes and communities where possible.

Janet Mwema, from the Kenyan National Council for Children’s Services, said that some homes would continue to operate as educational centres, which children could attend while still living in their own home.

In 2022, Kenya passed a Children’s Act that recommended placing children in guardianships and foster care instead of institutional residential settings.

Bishop Johnes Ole Meliyio, of the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church, however, said that, while he supported taking the children back into their communities, closing the homes that provided support to those in need was “another issue”, which should be debated further.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)