New Guidelines Require Immediate Reporting of Missing Children

May 29, 2024

New guidelines now mandate that a missing child be reported immediately, eliminating the previous 48-hour waiting period. These guidelines, aimed at improving the reporting and tracing of missing children, were launched on Saturday during the International Missing Children’s Day celebrations at Shalom House in Dagoretti South, Nairobi.

During the celebrations of National Missing Children’s Day

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore reported that 7,058 children have gone missing this financial year, with 1,383 of them found and reunited with their families. In a speech read on her behalf by the Secretary Administration of the State Department for Social Protection, Bore highlighted several measures to protect children, including online child protection initiatives, the Child Helpline 116, and cash transfers to assist families in meeting basic needs, reducing the likelihood of children running away.

The guidelines aim to prevent confusion and miscommunication during the search and recovery process. Children can go missing for various reasons, including abduction, abandonment, running away, getting lost, trafficking, neglect, insufficient care and supervision, poverty, custody disputes, fleeing danger, or being groomed for abuse or exploitation.

The Department of Children Services noted that current mechanisms for responding to missing children cases lack standardization, leading to uncoordinated efforts in tracing and ensuring their safety. “In today’s digital age, information about missing children spreads widely but is often unregulated,” Bore said.

Agnes Mwendwa, Nairobi Children’s Assembly Governor, criticized parents for mistreating children and denying them 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), urged children to use the toll-free number 116 if they need support.


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