Factors influencing performance of children homes and rehabilitation centres in the Municipal Council of Nakuru and Environs, Kenya
The presence of mostly abandoned and orphaned children on the streets of many major urban areas is not a new phenomenon in most countries. The hidden and isolated nature of these children in the streets makes accurate statistics difficult to gather; however, UNICEF estimates their number at 100 million worldwide with that number expected to rise if mitigation measures are not taken like setting up properly managed homes and rehabilitation centers that can absorb them in good numbers and effectively give thers a better chance in life. In Kenya, several individuals, organizations and also the government have taken initiative to set up and run rehabilitation homes for these children in many urban and periurban areas. However, the performance of these homes and centers need to be assessed to determine their efficacy. This study sought to determine factors influencing the performance of these homes and rehabilitation centers in Kenya and focused on children homes in Municipal Council of Nakuru and its environs. The objectives of the study were: to establish the effect of government policies & regulations on their performance; to evaluate the availability of financial resources on them; to assess the impact of formal managerial skills on their operations; and to determine how the communities around them influenced their performance. Many studies done in this area while aknowledging the increasing numbers of abandoned children opting for life on the streets tend to focus predominantly on the on the underlying socioeconomic issues compelling these children to make such choices. Little attention is paid to the performance aspect of homes set up to accommodate them. Descriptive survey research design was employed targeting two of the senior most managers in each of the 30 street children rehabilitation centers within MCN bringing the population to 60 respondents using purposive sampling technique. Data was collected using a pretested semi structured questionnaire and descriptive methods were used for data analysis. According to the findings, most of the managers of the rehabilitation centers were in their early thirties and 30% were female. The homes were mostly located in the urban areas but were radially moving out and were being run mostly by charity organizations with a strong presence of foreign sponsorship. High levels of familiarity with the government policies and regulations and average compliance rate were observed due to their inherent limitations. Funding levels were adequate in most cases and allocation prioritized food, education and medical care. Financial control systems in place were reportedly reliable. Most (68%) of the managers had formal managerial training and high skill level and experience in handling children. There was need to inculcate the concepts and practice strategic. The communities were generally appreciative of the presence of the homes as reform institutions in their neighborhoods due to the perceived nobility of the projects but gave less material support due to misinformation about the nature of the projects. Governments should increase efforts seeking solutions to avail more funding to these homes including budgetary allocations where possile. More research should be done in the area of improving financing options so as to enable the homes absorb more children and also studies should be done to establish the reasons behind the virtual non-existence of homes catering solely for the girl child. Finally, there is need for more consultative engagement among all stakeholders in entrenching the rights and welfare of the abandoned and orphaned children in all legal documents both locally and internationally to ensure the wellbeing of these children and for posterity.
University of Nairobi, Kenya