Influence of charitable childrens’ institutions on the welfare of orphans and vulnerable children in Meru Municipality-kenya
Child Abuse and neglect have existed all over the world and for many centuries. For many years in Kenya, the state of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) has been a matter of great national concern. This study sought to investigate the influence of charitable children’s institutions to the welfare of OVC in Meru Municipality-Kenya. The study targeted six Charitable Children Institutions (CCIs) working in Meru Municipality. The objectives included, To establish the extent to which child care in charitable children’s institutions influence the welfare of Orphans and Vulnerable children in Meru Municipality; To assess how staff competencies in charitable children’s institutions influence the welfare of Orphans and Vulnerable children in Meru Municipality; To establish the extent to which institutional policy guidelines in charitable children’s institutions influence the welfare of Orphans and Vulnerable children in Meru Municipality; To assess the level at which physical facilities in charitable children’s institutions influence the welfare of Orphans and Vulnerable children in Meru Municipality. This study used both qualitative and quantitative methodology to examine the influence of charitable children’s institutions to the welfare of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Meru Municipality. The study was conducted through descriptive cross-sectional survey design methodology and employed stratified sampling, simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques. The main research instruments for collecting data included observation checklist and questionnaires. The study employed three out of the 6 CCIs found in Meru Municipality. These tools were selected because of the nature of data collected, the time available and the objectives of the study. Descriptive statistical analyses was employed in this study where data was analyzed using SPSS. The study established that child care among CCIs in Meru Municipality has some influence on child welfare. Factors such as nutrition, health, child rights, psychosocial needs and disaster preparedness are catered for though not to the fullest. The study revealed that CCIs in Meru Municipality are not properly equipped with professional staff in all areas of service. It was clear that some staffs in the CCIs were doubling in their responsibilities which could compromise child’s welfare. The study further established that majority of the children in the CCIs do not know the mission and the vision statements of their institutions and only a few of them think that the CCIs are committed to these statements. Finally, the study revealed that physical facilities such as water and lighting for CCIs in Meru Municipality are from sources that can compromise the welfare of the children. The living conditions in some CCIs are crowded within scarce land. The study recommends that CCIs must provide nutrition in sufficient quantities, frequency and quality, the diet must be balanced, treatment should be timely offered, psychosocial needs of the children should be addressed by providing opportunities for quality interaction and disaster preparedness plan should be available. Additionally, all CCIs must have a combination of skilled and professional staffs that are qualified in the work they do and should not double responsibilities to ensure productivity and quality service to the children. All CCIs must have institutional policy statements as vision statement, mission statements and core values clearly displayed, understood and complied with. Lastly, CCIs should provide ample physical facilities for the children beneficiaries. The source and mode of provision of such facilities should be from sources and channels that are likely not to compromise child welfare. Local authorities should plan for CCIs because they need to be built in areas where there is enough space to avoid congestion.